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Question about the land near the Onion Valley trailhead

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Question about the land near the Onion Valley trailhead

Postby markv » Thu Apr 15, 2010 6:03 am

This is a quick follow-up to my Williamson question. I'm thinking of parking at either Onion Valley or Symmes Creek (Shepherd's Pass) trailhead, and then making a loop hike of it. Does anyone have any info on what it would be like to walk the mile or so that connects those two roads? I've been to the area once, and i remember it being basically grassland, but i have no idea if it's private land, fenced off, rampant rattlesnakes, or whatever. I'd hope to hitchhike the Onion Valley road to the trailhead, but if i couldn't, i could at least drop pack and make an easy-ish walk of it.

Help!
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Re: Question about the land near the Onion Valley trailhead

Postby Bob Burd » Thu Apr 15, 2010 3:27 pm

markv wrote:This is a quick follow-up to my Williamson question. I'm thinking of parking at either Onion Valley or Symmes Creek (Shepherd's Pass) trailhead, and then making a loop hike of it. Does anyone have any info on what it would be like to walk the mile or so that connects those two roads? I've been to the area once, and i remember it being basically grassland, but i have no idea if it's private land, fenced off, rampant rattlesnakes, or whatever. I'd hope to hitchhike the Onion Valley road to the trailhead, but if i couldn't, i could at least drop pack and make an easy-ish walk of it.

Help!


The roads are public property and you are certainly free to walk them as well as drive them. Not sure what you mean by the "mile or so that connects these two roads". The roads are connected at a junction. It's not really an easy-ish walk - it's 13 miles between the two trailheads...
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Postby markv » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:26 pm

Sorry i wasn't especially clear. The walk would go something like this:

Drive up to Onion Valley trailhead and stash the heavier gear somewhere.
Drive to Symmes Creek / Shepherd's Pass trailhead and park.
Walk CROSSCOUNTRY back to the Onion Valley road. This looks like about a mile, as opposed to walking the many miles down to the junction.
Hitchhike or walk with daypack up the Onion Valley road.
Hike over Kearsarge to the JMT, south on the JMT to near Diamond Mesa, across to Shepherd's Pass.
Climb Tyndall and Williamson.
Exit to car waiting at Symmes Creek.

Or the reverse.

So the question is if i'll be able to walk that one mile of crosscountry without fences or undue natural hazards. thanks!
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Postby Bob Burd » Thu Apr 15, 2010 7:36 pm

markv wrote:Sorry i wasn't especially clear. The walk would go something like this:

Drive to Symmes Creek / Shepherd's Pass trailhead and park.
Walk CROSSCOUNTRY back to the Onion Valley road. This looks like about a mile, as opposed to walking the many miles down to the junction.


I think the confusion lies here. Cross-country doesn't buy you much. You can cross-country from the Shepherds Pass hiker to stock parking areas (or use the trail along the creek), but you still have more than two miles back to Onion Valley Road, then ten miles up to Onion Valley. Here's a a map:

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Postby granite4brains » Thu Apr 15, 2010 10:30 pm

... and that would be a lot of gain going back up the Onion Valley Road ... of course, I guess you could thumb it too :wink:
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Postby markv » Fri Apr 16, 2010 5:44 pm

Bob, would you be so kind as to post or send that mape without the line drawn on it? It appears your map may have a different road that doesn't show up on my Nat Geo map. I had mentioned x-country because on my map there is no road connecting Symmes to Onion Valley Road, other than by going all the way back down to Independence. If there is a road (hard to tell with your red line added), then my problem is solved!
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Postby markv » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:00 pm

I see the connecting road now on Google maps. I wonder if that road went down after the Trails Illustrated map was printed.

Anyway, i'm set now. It seems the most logical route would be to bring bicycles, stash them somewhere at Onion Valley, hike up from Symmes Creek and end the hike at Onion Valley, and then bike back to the car.
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Postby Bob Burd » Fri Apr 16, 2010 6:32 pm

markv wrote:I see the connecting road now on Google maps. I wonder if that road went down after the Trails Illustrated map was printed.

Anyway, i'm set now. It seems the most logical route would be to bring bicycles, stash them somewhere at Onion Valley, hike up from Symmes Creek and end the hike at Onion Valley, and then bike back to the car.


That road has been there for many, many years. It's not that common for mapmakers to get things wrong, but it happens. Beware especially of Google maps that seem to be overly ambitious in showing roads in remote locales. It's always good to check the satellite overlay to be sure.

Your plan now sounds excellent. Have fun!
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Postby markv » Fri Apr 16, 2010 7:19 pm

Sorry for one last question: i know Onion Valley Road is paved, but are the connecting foothill road or Symmes Creek road paved?

Looked on my map, and it was printed in 1983 and revised in 1999. Weird they didn't add the road.
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Postby El Cuervo » Sat Apr 17, 2010 2:32 am

Once you leave Onion Valley Road, you leave the pavement.

From not bad, to washboard, to not good, to worse. Keep speed up as needed and wheels straight.

My little low clearance sedan made it from 2004-2008 no problem, twice some years.

Keep an eye out for dope growing MLC SC types.
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