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Woodpecker Trail #34E08

Very Difficult
 4.0 (1)

The southern half passes many of the best domes and rock formations in Domeland, but the northern half is unmaintained.


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Map Key

16.6

Miles

26.7

KM

85%

Runnable

8,257' 2,517 m

High

6,376' 1,944 m

Low

3,800' 1,158 m

Up

2,528' 771 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

30%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The trail is reached from the Sherman Pass Road, which is closed in the winter. However, the snow melt at this southern end of the Sierras is much earlier than for areas farther north. To reach the south end of the Woodpecker Trail take the Cherry Hill Road-22S12 past Big Meadow and Long Meadow to 24S13, which leads past Rattlesnake Meadow to the Church Dome Trailhead. This is a primary dirt road, which should not be a problem for most passenger cars.

Need to Know

Wilderness permits are not required, but you need a campfire permit if you plan to have a campfire. Pets are allowed so long as they are under control and do not harass the wildlife. This is a good area for early season runs.

Description

The southern half of the Woodpecker Trail is "Intermediate/Difficult," except for one short, steep "Difficult" section by Church Dome. The northern half is "Extremely Difficult." The descent to Trout Creek from the south has not been maintained and is very difficult to follow, with many fallen trees. Crossing Trout Creek can be difficult, dangerous, to impossible until sometime after all snow has melted around the upper feeder streams. I have no information about about the section from Trout Creek to Sherman Pass Road, except that it climbs almost 2000 feet in 4 miles.

The south end of the Woodpecker Trail is at its junction with the Big Meadow Trail; however, if you drove to this end, start from the Church Dome Trailhead at the end of 24S13.

The trail begins with a 1000-foot climb to a pass just to the right of "Church Dome," the most famous formation in Domeland. This is a rock climber's paradise. It is actually a set of formations that would be better named "Church Spires." Climbers have given name to at least 12 of these. From the far side of the pass, the sheer rock faces of the top of the ridge are even more impressive. This is not a "dome," but a granite ridge sheered off by glaciers. The trail drops rapidly at first, and then gradually descends towards Manter Meadow, crossing over several low glacial moraines.

The deep green Manter Meadow is the largest meadow within the Domeland Wilderness. You reach the meadow at the junction with the South Manter Trail-34E37. The trail skirts the meadow on the east side and crosses Manter Creek at the junction with the Manter Creek Trail-35E12. Continuing along the meadow, pass a fire circle and a metal frame previously used for a large forest service tent.

Volunteers were invited here in 2017 to help maintain trails. Clearly they did not have the resources to venture very far. Pass the narrow northern extensions of the meadow, pass the junction with the North Manter Trail-34E14, and cross over a low ridge to an open area with expansive views of domes to the north. The trail follows North Manter Creek past the junction with the Dome Land Trail-35E10 and on to pass numerous rock formations, including several well-known to climbers: Fist, Knuckles, and Bart Dome. The latter is best reached from Domeland Trail.

As stated above, the descent to Trout Creek has not been maintained and is very difficult to follow. However, from the south side of the pass, it is easy to run off-trail down to the Domeland Trail .

Flora & Fauna

Mixed conifer and pinyon pine. There are millions of tiny flowers about 3-6 inches tall of a variety of colors. They are beautiful to look at, but are too small for landscape pictures. Beware of rattlesnakes. I saw one on the trail that didn't rattle until I was very close, and then it crawled into a log next to the trail. When crossing logs, it is good to put your poles down both sides before stepping over.

Contacts

Shared By:

Lee Watts

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote

#12303

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  4.0 from 1 vote
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Trail Rankings

#1,315

in California

#12,303

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Photos

Church Dome, although "Church Spires" might be a better name. The highest Pinnacle is Class 5 via the easiest route. The pinnacle on the left is Class 5.5. Climbers have given names to twelve of the formations in this picture.
Jun 18, 2019 near Weldon, CA
Fist Dome on the left and Knuckles in the center-right.
Jun 18, 2019 near Weldon, CA
Morning view from my campsite next to a good stream. The brush has recovered from the 2000 Manter Fire, but the trees may never grow back.
Jun 18, 2019 near Weldon, CA

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