Wallace Falls - Lake Loop

The year is rapidly coming to a close. I wanted to get in a good long day trip. I was also only 3 miles short of my fifth consecutive year with over 800 hiking miles. I worked in the morning and hit the road at 8:30 am. It was 9:35 when I arrived at Wallace Falls State Park. I was on the trail five minutes later. I was surprised to find only 7 or 8 eight cars in the parking lot. It was a Friday but I expected to find folks out and about on the day after Christmas. On the drive in I was surprised to see fresh snow much lower than expected. The high point of this trip is only about 1860' so I was not likely to find much snow on the route. In fact, I did not. A nice view of Mts. Baring and Index just before the route heads into the forest.

At the junction with the Woody Trail I headed left on the old railroad grade. This route is a mile longer and that's what I was after this day. There has been work on the old grade since my last visit one year earlier. There are a few short sections with rocks on mud where the grade was previously smooth. I'm not sure what was accomplished. Farther along, several culverts have been removed and replaced with new bridges. The wood still smelled freshly cut. I passed the first trail that descends to the Woody Trail. At the second one I headed downhill. From the Woody Trail the route drops more to the bridge across the NF Wallace River. It drains from Wallace Lake.

From there it is uphill to the metal roofed shelter. Good views of the lower falls from there. Back on trail the route climbs to the middle falls and then on to the upper falls. Clouds filled the gorge of the falls and also the valley below. Not much to see this day unless it was very close. Much more water in the falls than summer visitors see. After a short stop at the upper falls I headed on to the old road up above. There was a note at the upper falls mentioning bridge work ahead. A quick climb brought me to the upper road. Left goes to Wallace Lake or Wallace Basin for those looking for some exploration. The bridge area is off limits but since there were no workers this day I took a quick look.

My old Footsore 2 book mentioned the old road/trails on the other side of the falls. At one time a bridge spanned where this new bridge sits. I'm pretty sure it will connect the new trails being built off Reiter Road with the Wallace Falls and Lake. For now the bridge is not finished and I hope nobody messes around on it and becomes another statistic. Wait until the bridge has decking and is finished. I expect it will be down before summer.

I had seen half a dozen groups up to here. I would not see anyone else for the next three hours. The walk over to the lake is on old and new logging roads. Years back it was most all in dark forest. Now the new section of road is open and bright. Well, not so bright on this very cloudy day. It was very misty all the way to the lake. There was a little snow along the open road but none on the road itself. At the lake I took a short break then headed on around to the inlet end. Lots of water on the flatter area near the other end. The inlet creek was running so I bushwhacked my way to Pebble Beach. Except there was no beach. The lake level is high enough to bury all the gravel. I had a clear view across the lake from the outlet. It was still clear when I reached the inlet. For about five minutes. Then the clouds rolled in across the lake. Soon I could not see the other end. It was still only about 37 degrees but there was almost no wind all day making it cold but comfortable. Cold enough that my lunch break only lasted about 15 minutes.

Soon I was on my way back. Back to the inlet then on the old road heading for the Greg Ball Trail. I popped out of the forest onto the newer gravel road. A short walk brought me to the Greg Ball Trail. This trail had been muddy on previous winter trips. With all the recent rain I expected it to be very muddy. It wasn't. Not nearly as muddy as I expected. There was a little mud and some water on the trail but it was in very good condition. This two plus mile section went by quickly. Soon I was back on the railroad grade. A short walk closed my loop when I reached the spot where I had dropped from the grade to the Woody Trail that morning. Along here I met the first person since the top of Wallace Falls. I made very good time descending the grade and made it back to the trailhead at 3:05 pm, well before dark.

That should be the end of the story but my car would not start. GM puts a wonderful anti-theft system in many cars. This is the second time it left me stranded at a trailhead. A good Samaritan came by who was familiar with the problem. With his memory and a smartphone we came up with a temporary fix that had my car running 45 minutes later. With the help of a friend we hacked the system the next day and bypassed the system. He had done the same thing to his GM car after the same thing happened to him. Twice is two times too often to be stuck at a trailhead thanks to a rogue anti-theft system.

Baring In Clouds
New Bridge
Another New Bridge
Bridge Over NF
NF Wallace River
Mossy Trees
Lower Falls
Middle Falls
Upper Falls
New Hiking Bridge
No Decking Yet
Big Puddles
Snow Along Road
Another Small Lake
Wallace Lake Outlet
Perfect Reflection
Inlet End Of Lake
Pebble Beach Submerged
Clouds Roll In
Mist Over Lake
December Buds
Heading Out
Mossy Ground
Mossy Log
Mt. Baring
Index & Persis
Fresh Snow
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2014