Mummy Mountain from Lee Canyon Road Trailhead

The Desert from Sawmill Ridge

Three Lakes Valley from Sawmill Ridge

Diving down the Trail from the Lee Canyon Road Trailhead

While many club members are out in South Lake Tahoe having fun on the alpine trails … and being chilly … four of us girls who remained behind took a loop hike on a fabulous day in the Spring Mountains. The weather is supposed to turn cold and windy here in the next day or two so you might say we "snuck this one in!" We began at the Lee Canyon Road Trailhead. This is an unmarked trailhead on the left side of the road as you climb up 10.5 miles from SR 95 below. At the bottom of the big drop into the large canyon, we found a large rusted tin can with letters from the hardware store stuck on it. They read "Barrow Pit."

The Lee Canyon Trail

A Barrow Pit is defined as a ditch dug along a roadway to furnish fill and provide drainage. Perhaps this sign is referring to the area across Lee Canyon Road from the trailhead. And, perhaps, we should begin calling this trailhead "The Barrow Pit" Trailhead. Hmm. It did need a name!

One of Several Large Cairns

The trail splits after crossing the wash for the first time. We took the right turn onto the Lee Canyon Trail. This trail is also called the Blue Trail. And, the loop we hiked today could be called the Blue Loop. But, that's not as much fun!

A Meadow in the Canyon

Above Lee Canyon Narrows

I haven't hiked up this trail in a couple of years so I was anxious to see how the trail has changed or improved. It was very easy to follow except for one area that is always washed out. Nevertheless, pick a route … any route … and you cross back onto the official trail soon. This happened twice for only a short distance. Another unfortunate change is that the old wooden sign that used to lean against one of the large cairns near the narrows is missing. It could have been washed away. If you see this sign, please try to return it to the series of large cairns below the narrows. Next, we climbed up and over the trail that circumvents the narrows.

Climbing the Up and Around at the Narrows

We were maintaining a decent pace and stopping whenever the urge hit us! So this hill surprised us at how much we were sucking air!

Yes, it's a car!

Coming upon the old car as seen above, we had an idea. The men always love the old cars that we pass while out hiking. So, today, we posed and tried to convey "Hey, guys! It's just a car! (How did we do?)

View down Lee Canyon from Climb Out

Cardamine Road Gate

We climbed back up to the road on the trail and crossed over to Cardamine Road. This led us to the Sawmill Picnic Area and Trailhead. We stopped for a couple of minutes but the yellow jackets were terrible when we tried to find a table to sit at. They followed us everywhere. Finally, we decided to continue up to the Sawmill Ridge for our break. It was peaceful up there! Some of the best views of the morning were seen on the ridge then we connected down to the continuation of the Blue Trail … or the beginning of the Sawmill Wiggles. (This trail turns left at the old steep hill.) Before long, we noticed that a downhill run has been cut by, presumably, ATVs. Hmm. Not good.

Sawmill Trail

Then we noticed that the Blue Trail, itself, seems to have been being used by said ATVs. There were two tracks on what used to be a single track trail for most of the way to the No Mads Trail crossing.

Taking a Break at the Red Trail Junction

Some of the wood on either side of the trail had been trampled by the machines. I'm pretty sure this is not allowed.

Macks, Bonanza, Willow and Wheeler Peaks

Starting down the Blue Trail (Sawmill Wiggles)

We crossed the No Mads Trail and dropped down into the Blue Tree Campground. Exactly here, we crossed the wash and began climbing up the opposite hill by bushwhacking. Our direction did not change from the trail we had just left. It is a diagonal trajectory. This took us up and across the paved road again right to where Forest Road 25855 junctioned with Lee Canyon Road. The forest road parallels the pavement and leads all the way back to the cars after almost a mile. We enjoyed the morning immensely!
7.8 miles; 1300 feet elevation gain; 3.75 hours; average moving speed 2.0 mph

The Blue Trail appears as if there has been ATVs using it.

Connecting with the Old Lee Canyon Road (Forest Road 25855)

Home Stretch on the Forest Road