Features: Lake — River/Creek — Swimming — Views — Wildflowers
Dogs: No Dogs
The Kibbie Ridge Trail goes all the way to Huckleberry Lake, but most runners use it to get to Kibbie, Many Island, or Boundary lakes. It is a good early season run because the higher parts are fairly open so that the snow melts early and there are no major stream crossings until the last few miles before Huckleberry Lake. In the late summer, there are few mosquitoes, and the lakes are fairly warm for swimming.
There are two possible trailheads. Both require crossing the Cherry Lake dam. This can be reached from State 120 by turning on the Cherry Oil Road 1N07 about 15 miles from Groveland. A slightly shorter route is to turn off of State 108 a few miles past Sonora on County Road E17, go to the town of Tuolumne and take the Cherry Creek Road, 1N07.
After crossing the Cherry Lake dam, the road turns right, climbs a little, and then makes a sharp U-turn. Avoid the road in the middle of the U-turn, which goes to Lake Eleanor. Instead continue around the turn and climb above the lake. The signed, official trailhead is at about 5,000 feet in elevation. However, if you have a relatively high clearance vehicle, you can drive all the way to Shingle Spring at about 5,800 feet and catch the trail there.
In all cases, the first part of the climb can be hot, with only partial views back towards the reservoir. Most of this area has suffered from old and recent fires. The views become much better a mile or so past the Kibbie Lake Trail
. Lookout Point, about five miles from the Eleanor Road trailhead, has sweeping panoramas of the granite cliffs of Cherry Creek and nearby domes.
The trail passes a small, marshy lake and climbs to the Yosemite boundary on a sandy ridge with views towards the Tuolomne Meadows area of Yosemite. Sachse Spring, at about nine miles, has good camping. The trail continues on the south side of the ridge (good camping at small lake north of the trail). There are only mild uphill and downhills all the way to Styx Pass. Just before the pass, you can make an easy climb to Mercur Peak (great views) or you can take an off-trail route down to Many Island Lake, which is shallow and warm, with many rocky islands.
After Styx Pass, descend to Cherry Creek, which is surrounded by polished granite domes. The trail to Boundary Lake (difficult to follow) is a 1/2 mile past Styx Pass, prior to the major switchback. From Lords Meadow to Huckleberry Lake, the trail crosses Cherry Creek three times, which is dangerous in the early season and always a wet crossing.
Red and white fir, Jeffery and lodgepole pines and many varieties of flowers.