Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day hike to waterfall in California’s Grover Hot Springs State Park

Hot Springs Creek Waterfall
Day hikers can enjoy a pleasant walk through an alpine meadow to a waterfall on the Hot Springs Waterfall Trail in California’s Grover Hot Springs State Park.

Sitting in the middle of Yosemite National Park, the state park offers hot springs and pine forests in the High Sierras. The 3-mile round trip walk is at about 6000 feet elevation.

To reach the trail, from Markleeville, take State Hwy. 89 north. At Hot Springs Road, turn left/west. The state park is in about 3.5 miles. Drive past the park entrance station to the overflow parking lot. Look for the Burnside Trail sign at Quaking Aspen Campground’s north end.

The first mile or so of the trail parallels Hot Springs Creek through a large alpine meadow. The creek’s trout are popular among campers, and if you’re on the trial near lunch or dinner time, you’ll probably smell it grilling. Quaking aspen line the meadow’s edge and make for a great autumn display of fluttering orange and gold leaves.

Two granite peaks tower over the alpine meadow. To the northwest, Hawkins Peak tops out at 10,023-feet – almost a mile above you – while to the southwest Markleeville Peak reaches and 9,419 feet.

At the first signed junction, go left/southwest off the Burnside Trail. The path continues to follow Hot Springs Creek to a small waterfall. If older teens are without you, climb the rocks to the waterfall overlook.

Return the way you came on this out-and-back trail.

Find out about trail guidebooks available in the Hittin’ the Trail series.