- Written by Alan Spires
- Under special permit granted by the US Forest Service High Sierra Ranger District
- Oversized vehicles are not recommended on Swamp Lake Trail
- SUV run to Bald Mountain available on Saturday or Sunday
- Traction aiding differentials in either front or rear will be required for Swamp Lake Trail
- UTV run Saturday or Sunday
- Bald Mountain Ladies Run on Sunday
- Swamp Lake overnight run
Have you ever thought of running the Dusy Ershim Trail, but never had enough time to do it? We have the answer. The scenic Swamp Lake Trail offers the same beautiful scenery but can be run in one day, or you can enjoy it over a two-day period with the return of our overnight run. If you think the Swamp Lake Trail is too difficult, we have the scenic beauty of the Bald Mountain Trail with spectacular views of Shaver Lake.
In addition to the mentioned runs, we will have side-by-side/quad runs on Bald Mountain. Last year's run was extremely successful, being sponsored and led by Fresno's Sidewayz Motor Sports www.sidewayzmotorsports.com. Our only requirement is that your side-by-side or quad is four-wheel drive.
Again we will offer our ladies only run on Sunday. Last year we had seven lady drivers, some who had never driven off-road before.
All runs stage at Bald Mountain base camp, which is reached by a paved road accessible by motorhomes and fifth wheels and offers plenty of camping. Sunday night will feature a raffle and dinner.
Saturday morning up to fifty rigs will head to Swamp Lake, a challenging trail that climbs to over 9,000 feet and offers awe inspiring views of the Sierras including Mount Whitney, Grouse Lake and old mining operations. Squeeze Rock, Rooster Rock, the rock garden and Blast Rock are just some of the problems that drivers and spotters must negotiate over the fifteen-mile loop trail. Full size rigs can negotiate the trail if the driver is skilled and can accept body damage. A locker, 33-inch tires, front and rear tow points, and other usual Cal4Wheel safety items are required. A winch is strongly recommended. There will be a one-day (complete trail) and an overnight run.
The overnight run will feature camping at Swamp Lake or Grouse Lake on Saturday night, which is halfway on the trail. Be sure to bring your own food and camping gear for that. Sunday we will drive out and return early to base camp for games, dinner, and the raffle.
If you have a new rig, are a new driver, or you just want to try off-roading for the first time, Bald mountain trail offers challenges and scenery that are still fun, but less stressful than the Swamp Lake trail. The Bald Mountain Lookout offers breathtaking views of Shaver Lake and the Central Valley. Hollywood Hill, Vee Rock, and Shale Hill are thrilling, but less likely to result in scratched body panels. There are other nearby trails that individuals can run on their own on Saturday or Sunday. Bald Mountain will be run on Saturday and Sunday as well if there is enough interest for a second run.
The Central District is pleased to sponsor this Cal4Wheel fund raiser and we hope that more wheelers will make this part of their Labor Day plans. We are experiencing growth in the number of participants and volunteers. Since the Swamp Lake Run is limited to fifty rigs, be sure to sign up early if you are interested in this run. We will have on-site registration, but our hosts, the High Sierra Ranger District of the Sierra National Forest, is very committed to protecting these trails for all to enjoy in the future.