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John Guilford's Hikes

Poodle Dog Pass / Silver Lake on 2011-09-05

Date: 2011-09-05

Location: Poodle Dog Pass / Silver Lake

People: (including myself): Jay Wardle

			Alt.	Miles
Barlow Pass:	10:35	2361	0
Log Crossing:	11:00	2300	~1
Monte Cristo:	12:15	2756	4
Sunday Creek:	 1:15	~3720?
End Lunch:	 1:45
Poodle Dog Pass: 2:20	4350	5.7
Silver Lake:	 2:30	4260	5.8
Poodle Dog Pass: 3:15	4350	5.9
Sunday Creek: 	 3:45
Monte Cristo:	 4:30	4260	7.6
Log Crossing:	 5:40
Barlow Pass:	 6:10	2361	11.6
The trail to Poodle Dog Pass and Silver Lake leaves out of Monte Cristo.  This means that you need to hike the old road from Barlow Pass to Monte Cristo first.  This part of the hike can be expedited by using a mountain bike to get from Barlow Pass to Monte CristoJay and I didn't have bikes and had to walk it. 

It was a beautiful, hot Labor Day, more like mid-August rather than the beginning of September.  Fortunately most of the hike was in shade.  Still we were both hot and sweaty by the end. 

A gate, normally closed, blocks the road to Monte Cristo at Barlow Pass.  About a mile in, you get to where a slide took out the old road.  A rough, [ PIX1 ] alternate trail goes around the slide, but the trail across the slide was fine despite the warning signs.  A bit further, what's left of the road ends where it used to cross the South Fork Sauk river.  The old bridge washed away years ago.  Now the only ways to cross the river are either to wade across or walk over a large log that spans the river.  To get to the log, turn right and go a short distance up stream along the obvious trail.  The log is large and (at least in the dry conditions we had) not slippery. 

[ PIX2 ] With no vehicles able to pass the river, the old road is getting narrower and a bit more trail like, at least in places, as vegetation begins to encroach.  At one point an earlier flood had eaten away at a section of road exposing the old railway tracks that had been buried several feet under the road. 

The old trail to Silver Lake started just after you crossed the bridge over the South Fork Sauk River before you got to town.  This trail is now blocked off with a sign indicating the new trailhead on the far side of town. 

[ PIX3 ] Passing through town, we crossed over Sunday Creek, took a right to the new trailhead and immediately started climbing.  For a while the trail runs along an old water pipe (for the hydro plant?) of a curious construction.  Each pipe segment was made from a length of metal that was wrapped in a helix so that the seam formed a long cork screw.  The trail passes Sunday Falls and switchbacks up the hillside. 

The trail flattens out a bit ascending through meadows and forest.  The trail was in excelent shape and a pleasure to hike.  Our USGS maps only showed the old trail, not the new one, which made it a bit more difficult to decide exactly where we were or how close we were to the pass.  We got hungry and decided to stop for lunch where the trail crosses Sunday creek. 

[ PIX4 ] Very soon after the creek, the trail merged into the remains of the old trail.  It turned left and started switchbacking up the final slope towards Poodle Dog Pass.  As we ascended the switchbacks, good views over the Sauk valley came into view. 

[ PIX5 ] Within a half hour, we got to the top of the switchbacks at Poodle Dog Pass.  The trail immediately flattens out across a bit of meadow with a couple small ponds.  A mere ten minutes later we were at Silver Lake and looking up at Silvertip Peak.  The lake was still half covered with snow and ice with large amounts of snow on the far bank below Silvertip.  We traversed along the edge of the lake to a nice flat area where we took some photos and rested.  We didn't bother descending the last 20 feet down to the lake proper. 

On the way out, I took a short detour up the Twin Lakes trail, which heads SE off Poodle Dog Pass.  This trail, which isn't in as good of shape as the Poodle Dog Pass trail, relentlessly climbs up a knoll eventually resulting in some nice views of Silvertip, Silver Lake, and the Sauk valley. 

[ PIX6 ] [ PIX7 ] The return down the trail to Monte Cristo went faster than our climb.  It was beginning to cool off a bit, particularly when the sun was behind the hills.  Near Monte Cristo, I paused to take some photos of a small waterfall on 76 Creek as well as some of the hills around town. 

The walk back out from Monte Cristo to Barlow Pass was pleasant though somewhat boring.  With the approaching evening, it seemed like the flies and mosquitoes were more active though they never really got bad.  The hike to Poodle Dog Pass and Silver Lake is a very nice hike on a good trail with the only downside being the approach hike up the old road to Monte Cristo and back. 


[ PIX1 ] Log "bridge" crossing the South Fork Sauk River. 

[ PIX2 ] Jay looking at buried rails from old Monte Cristo railroad. 

[ PIX3 ] Start of "real" trail to Poodle Dog Pass

[ PIX4 ] View from switchbacks up to Poodle Dog Pass.  Foggy Peak, Cadet Peak, and Willmans Peaks (left to right). 

[ PIX5 ] Silver Lake and Silvertip Peak (6140'). 

[ PIX6 ] Falls on Seventy Six Creek near Monte Cristo

[ PIX7 ] View from Monte Cristo, Cadet Peak. 

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Last updated on: Mon Jun 8 16:50:16 PDT 2015