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  • Writer's pictureCaples Lake Resort

Fun & Free Interpretive Walks/Hikes at Carson Pass

The Caples Lake/Carson Pass region of the Sierra Nevada Mountains has a rich history and offers easy access to a spectacular array of wildflowers, unique geological formations and breathtaking scenery. The Eldorado National Forest Interpretive Association (ENFIA) offers a fantastic series of interpretive experiences that immerse participants into the history and landscape of this unique area.

All ENFIA Interpretative Hikes begin at Carson Pass Information Station on HWY 88.

Call 209-258-8606 to reserve a spot or arrive early and sign up onsite. Hikes are free, but there is a $5.00 per day parking fee for the Carson Pass.

All walks are limited to 12 participants; all participants should bring water, snacks, and be prepared to be outside. (Caples Lake Resort is right down the road and a great place to gear up before your adventure!) Below are descriptions of interpretive hikes, view the complete calendar here.

Calling All Junior Rangers: Come along on a Nature Scavenger Hunt and come away with

some knowledge of wilderness safety and what plants, trees & animals live in the Sierras. A one-hour amble along the PCT trail with fun activities along the way. All participants will earn a junior ranger patch by completing a short series of questions. This is a short hike to Frog Lake for 5-15 year olds.

Watercolor Painting: Come along and learn about watercolor painting in the forest. All paper, paints, and materials supplied, but each participant should carry their own. A mile wander through the forest and an hour dabbing paint on paper! This activity is geared to beginning and intermediate art enthusiasts who are willing to hike a little and paint a little. All participants will leave with their artwork! This is a three-hour event.

Wildflower Walk: Take a walk through the lupine and many other wildflowers at Carson Pass. This will be a walk to Frog Lake (and perhaps beyond, for the more adventurous) experiencing wildflowers through the eyes of a passionate flower expert. This is an easy trail and a relaxed walk. This event will be about 2 ½ hours.

Mountain Naturalist Hike: Docents lead this hike by asking “Do you see what you are looking at?” and urges people to see glaciation and more in the forest they think they know. A meander over a couple of miles, pausing to appreciate the many hidden treasures of the forest. All participants will leave with knowledge of the forest! This event is 1-2 hours to Frog Lake. Walk Among the Trees and Birds: Learn about the trees in the Mokelumne Wilderness area while we take a stroll through the forest, starting at the Carson Pass. Each participant will leave with a better understanding of how to identify trees and the birds that inhabit them! This is an easy 2-hour hike.

Geology Walk with Carl: A morning walk leads us through the amazing geological formations around the area. These hikes are designed for people who can hike a couple of miles and appreciate the rocks as much as the flowers. This is a 1 ½ mile meander on a moderate to easy trail.

Devil’s Ladder Historic hike with Carl: This is a walk down to the where the old highway crosses the Emigrant Trail at Devil’s Ladder. From there we will follow the wagon track to register rocks where the immigrants from the east wrote their names with grease from their wagon wheels. We will also pass the marker of an Unknown Pioneer. This is about 1 ½ miles.

Leaves and Flowers in Fabrics: Learn more about dyes and uses of nature in the creation and

decoration of fabrics by the early settlors crossing the Carson Pass. This is a stroll to Frog Lake.

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