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Herring Creek Trail, Stanilaus Forest


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Thanksgiving holiday, we spent a few days at our cabin up above Sonora, and while some of the time was spent doing the usual "getting ready for winter" yardwork, we also found time for a nice day hike.

We had tried to get to Herring Creek Reservoir at least four times before.  In each case, we were stopped by gates, bad roads, bad weather, or distractions that took us in another direction.  But on Saturday we finally made it. 

It's a perfectly easy drive.  The road leaves 108 to the right just a few miles past Strawberry.  The first few miles are paved and two cars wide.  Just before you get to the second gate (the first one is right at the highway itself) the road narrows to one lane.  And just beyond the gate the pavement stops, leaving a dirt/gravel/mud road for the rest  of the way.  This road makes a large loop around most of the Herring Creek drainage, but we turned right at the junction and 100 yards later saw the road down to the campground and the reservoir.  Because we were in a 2wd car and the road was both muddy and steep, we parked there and walked the last 1/4 mile to the campground.  We could have driven it in a pinch--but it stops at the campground, so it didn't make much difference to the length of our hike. 

And from the end of the road the trail leads past a few campsites, then to a walk-in campground with a few more campsites, and finally to Herring Creek Reservoir, about a half-mile in.  We checked out the reservoir, noted the thin layer of ice and slush in the shady coves, and the followed the clearly marked trail for another few miles up the creek. 

Lovely.  We found a nice spot for a quiet lunch.  We saw absolutely nobody once we left the campground, and wandered past quiet meadows, gushing cascades, and the always burbling Herring Creek.  Eventually we turned around and headed back to the cabin for dinner.  It was a great day in the mountains, and it reminded us that you don't need to tackle an epic hike to have an amazing day in the Sierra.

Sometimes just a quiet walk in the woods will do. 

The photos are here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/jNHcdoFnHhw7HlWc2

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