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Re: Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?

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Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?
July 15, 2016 05:30AM
I'm thinking of finally hiking the Chilnualna Falls trail outside of Wawona. Will there be enough water this year to make it worthwhile in two weeks? I will look at the Yosemite Falls webcam, but am not sure how/if that will be an accurate indicator of the water flow of these falls, being on the opposite side of the valley and at a lower elevation. I've seen many videos of the hike on YouTube, and they mostly seem to have been done in May.

If the creek won't have enough water flowing to be interesting this time of year, I'll have to figure out other day hikes on this "off weekend" in between my week-long backpacking trips. Maybe something starting around Sentinel Dome or Mono Meadows and heading east? I've always wanted to get to the top of Bridalveil Fall and the topology seems reasonable x-country from Pohono Trail, but the brush/bushwhacking seems to be the problem. I've also always wanted to get out to the Great Sierra Mine area, and thought that maybe I could make a loop around Granite Lakes, which looks nice.

Thanks in advance.



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 07/16/2016 08:38AM by ags.
Re: Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?
July 21, 2016 12:53PM
Heck, if the weather holds, and it looks to be holding, I'd head to Granite/Gaylor Lakes and the Great Sierra Mine area! Did that two weekends in a row in early July. Great area, good time to go. Water levels reasonably low from what we have seen. Not sure how Chilnualna is right now, but we saw it in early spring and it was quite nice, but I would guess low now.
Re: Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?
July 21, 2016 02:33PM
Yup, I did a bunch of research and decided that we'd do the Gaylor/Granite hike and visit the mines there. Is it reasonable to hike down from the mine/cabins area directly down to the Bennettville ruins and adit? Otherwise it's back to Tioga Rd and then along the lower trail further east off Tioga.

We also will take a hike on the other side to the Golden Crown mine. Really it's an excuse (non needed, though) to get to Mono Pass. After all this time, we've never been. Views should be spectacular (if no fires break out).

When researching, I also learned there's another "Mono Pass" in Sierra NF (?), further south near Bishop, north of the "Little Lakes Valley". I was surprised to find duplicated names so geographically close. This southern Mono Pass looks like its higher and in a really beautiful (and austere) area - which I now have added to my to-do list!

Thanks for the reply. We'll try for Chilnualna in May next year.
avatar Re: Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?
July 21, 2016 03:45PM
Here are a couple of videos from near the other Mono Pass





Re: Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?
July 22, 2016 08:46AM
Thanks for those videos. That "other' Mono Pass is now on our list. Along with HST, and more.

Is there some generally-recognized way of referring to these two Mono Passes in a clear, concise and unambiguous way?
Re: Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?
July 22, 2016 10:44AM
I've seen "Mono Pass (north)" vs. "Mono Pass (south)" used when there might be confusion. Other fun re-used Sierra placenames: Junction Meadow, Kennedy Meadows, Summit Lake, Twin Lakes, and Swamp Lake.
Re: Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?
July 22, 2016 06:00AM
Quote
ags
Yup, I did a bunch of research and decided that we'd do the Gaylor/Granite hike and visit the mines there. Is it reasonable to hike down from the mine/cabins area directly down to the Bennettville ruins and adit?

I've been to both Dana Village and Bennetville areas. In both instances, these were "filler hikes" (i.e., spent most of the day on much longer hikes and had a little time left in the late afternoon for these) so I didn't explore in a whole lot of detail. I certainly don't recall seeing any obvious routes from one mine to the other but I wasn't specifically looking, either. Looking at a topo map, it looks like it might be a fairly steep route (it's about 0.7 miles as the crow flies from the Sierra Mine (Dana Village) to the Tioga Mine (Bennetville) and drops a little over 1000 feet...steep (I define "steep" as a change of 800-1000 feet or more per mile...YMMV) but certainly feasible (in principle).

I'll let others who know the terrain in that area better than I jump in with more details but I'd certainly be curious to hear more about this if you do try it.

FYI, you'll see a lot more old mining equipment at the Tioga Mine but the views are more spectacular from the Sierra Mine (and that first stone cabin in Dana is really pretty impressive). The adit at Tioga is horizontal and closed off so not particularly dangerous. The shafts at Sierra are all (IIRC) vertical and I don't recall there being anything closing them off so do watch where you're walking there.

Here are some pix of my trip up to Sierra (photos 1-77 in this album...the remainder in that album were a quick run down the Old Tioga Road between May Lake parking area and Tenaya Lake). I haven't gotten around to adding captions (I'm afraid I'm VERY bad at staying caught up with that sort of thing) but at least there are GPS markers that should make it pretty clear where the pictures are from.

I've also got some pix from our trip up to the Tioga Mine but I can't find them just now...will post a link when I can dig them up.
Re: Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?
July 22, 2016 08:42AM
Thanks for the info and pictures. Looks like it will be fun. Topo maps show a feature that may make the route from Great Sierra Mine directly down to Tioga Mine possible. We'll see when we get there.

I'd like to walk the entire length (in segments) of the original Old Tioga Road. Maybe we'll do the section from Tenaya to May Lake while we're there. But we want to get to Mono Pass also. And Hoffmann's Thumb...

So much to hike, so little time.
Re: Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?
July 23, 2016 12:25PM
Quote
ags
I'd like to walk the entire length (in segments) of the original Old Tioga Road. Maybe we'll do the section from Tenaya to May Lake while we're there.

Well that certainly merits a new thread! Head roll There are at least a few of us here who are pretty hard-core old-road junkies. Here are the road segments I've hiked so far:
  • Old Tioga Road - because this crosses over the current road in so many places and has been re-aligned so many times over the years, I've been doing this in pretty short fragments but have followed it
    • Between Harden Lake and White Wolf (and out to the current road...that White Wolf Road section is slightly re-aligned from the original road, however).
    • The stretch from the current road down to Yose Creek CG. From the CG, it goes through a very overgrown stretch which eventually crosses the current road at (and becomes) the May Lake approach road. I've not done that stretch yet but I know that chick-on has)
    • The May Lake Road stretch and continuing back down to Tenaya Lake. It more or less matches the current alignment along Tenaya Lake but eventually veers off again. I don't know what happens between there and Tulolumne Meadows off the top of my head but I know at least one person has posted a fairly detailed description of the route elsewhere on this board (can't find it just now).
    • The bits that go through Tuolumne Meadows. I think some of the roads in and around Tuolumne Lodge sit on top of the old road but I'm not certain about that.
    • The fragmentary bits that follow the trail to Mono Pass
    • The final bit (just outside the Tioga Pass entrance station) which goes up to the old Tioga Mine.
  • Old Big Oak Flat - I've done all of this out to the park boundary except for the bit between Hodgdon Meadow CG and Carlon Day Use area and a short stretch just east of the campground. I've not tried to trace it (except on maps) outside of the park boundaries but it's official beginning was in Chinese Camp. I know of at least one stretch of the old road a little east of Groveland that is still a maintained, driveable road...unfortunately, that means it's lost most of its original character but Old Priest Grade is also part of the old alignment and, although paved and maintained, that certainly still gives you a flavor for what that road was like in a stage coach!
  • Old Coulterville Road - I've done all of this from the Valley to the park boundary (and a little bit beyond) except for a couple of miles just west of Little Nellie Falls
  • Old Wawona Road - I've done all of this that I can find...there are several places where the new road simply widened the old road and so old & new are the same. I've taken it from the Valley to a spot about half a mile south of where it crossed Grouse Creek. At that point, it rejoins the current road but I need to put an old/new map overlay on my GPS to find what happened then. I found it again (with some help from chick-on, of course!) about 1/2 or 3/4 of a mile north of Chinquapin and have followed it from there to about 4 miles south of Chinquapin. I lost it again from there all the way down to a spot just north of Mosquito Creek and have followed it from there down to the Wawona CG, at which point I think it shared the current alignment at least down to the Chilnuana Falls Road. I've never been sure how it snaked its way over to the Wawona Hotel (old pictures show the road approaching closer to the hotel than the current road does) or how much it extended beyond that...the stage route went over the Chowchilla Mountain Road when you left the hotel (Chowchilla's the one that is straight ahead when you're exiting the hotel parking lot). That's another old road which is on my longer-term to-do list.
  • Old Glacier Point Road - I've done all of this from Chinquapin to the spot about a mile east of BVCG where it rejoins the current alignment. Chick-on and, I believe, eeek and/or wherever (possibly some of the other hard-core regulars here as well) have found some of the other stretches of the OGPR between that spot and GP but I've not had a chance to check those out yet. At least part of the eastern end of the old road coincides with some of the long narrow switchbacks as you descend down to the GP parking lot.
  • There are also vast networks of old railroad beds and logging roads in the Henness Ridge area (and extending south and east of there). One of the longest and easiest to follow starts to the east of the Wawona Road immediately south of the Henness Ridge Road turn-off for Yosemite West (just south of Chinquapin). It is an old RR bed which is remarkably free of overgrowth and decay all the way out to Deer Camp and beyond. At that point, it joins up with a foot trail that I think may be more or less along the lines of the original Mann Brothers horse trail from Wawona to the Valley. Little by little, the foot-path widens and a little bit east of Alder Creek Fall, it turns back into a RR bed.

You'll find quite a few posts on this board related to all these old roads. The conditions range from still driveable...or at least "sort-of!" (most notably, the road down to Mosquito Flat CG is part of the OBOFR and several stretches of the OTR that are still used, including the roads to May Lake parking, to Yosemite Creek CG, access to Aspen Valley and (sort of) the access to White Wolf and the service road slightly beyond White Wolf (the approach road has, I believe, been slightly re-aligned over the years)) to crawling on your belly, clinging to cliff faces via Manzanita and, sometimes, just "where the hell did the road go?!?!?!". In all cases, I find them fascinating hikes that are wonderful ways to transport yourself back in time.

NOTE TO ADMINS: Please feel free to move this off to another thread...we're getting pretty far off the posted topic now!
Re: Chilnualna Falls July 23-24?
July 26, 2016 02:19PM
Yes, there are many old roads and they are very interesting. I've enjoyed the old road to Aspen Valley, and even Rockslides down into the valley. I was able to see what I believe is a "pristine" remnant of the OTR at the Tioga Mine (adit at Bennettville). Two wagon wheel tracks that are still clearly visible. Seeing it in that condition seemed even more noteworthy and remarkable than a preserved section.

BTW, I was able to go from Dana Village directly down to Bennettville. So I think by definition, it is "doable" - but I would also say that the average visitor would not want to take that route.
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