Squaw Valley Creek Hike — Saturday May 20, 2017

The Mt. Shasta Trail Association invites you on a picturesque wilderness hike in the McCloud area on Saturday, May 20th. The hike is a gentle to moderate 8 mile loop on the surging, clear Squaw Valley Creek Trail also called Cabin Creek Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. The elevation gain is approximately 1,800 feet. Hikers will pass boisterous waterfalls, roaring rapids and sun dappled pools lined with large Indian Rhubarb, tiger lilies and horsetails. Beautiful wildflowers can be seen alongside the moist mossy slopes of the canyon.

The meeting time and place is 9 am at 111 Morgan Way in Mt Shasta, in front of the Best Western Treehouse Motor Inn. Bring lunch, water and extra snacks (to eat before we break for lunch). Hiking poles (one or two) are recommended. Hikers will carpool to McCloud and return by 4 pm.

For further questions call Joan Roemer at 926-0647.

PCT Bridge Over Squaw Valley Creek

How the Squaw Valley Creek Trail was developed is very interesting….here is the background story from Tom Hesseldenz:

“I first explored the route in 1978 when I was hired as the manager of the McCloud River Preserve. I suggested it to the Forest Service at various times during my 10-year stint at the Preserve, as part of my participation in the preparation of the Forest Plan, and in seeking long-term protection for that area. The basic arguments were that it was a beautiful route along a rugged canyon stream surrounded by old-growth forest, and it had the easiest access from town to any portion of the Lower McCloud drainage.

I didn’t get a chance to pursue construction of the trail, however, until I left TNC and began working for California Trout in 1988. By then, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) had been built through the area and the bridge had been installed over Squaw Valley Creek Creek, but a 1/4-mile spur trail to the Cabin Creek Trailhead for the PCT had not yet been built. I established a partnership between CalTrout and the Forest Service to pursue the 5-mile SVC Trail Project, including the tie-in to the trailhead. I then flagged a trail route using specifications provided by Jerry Harmon (the long-time Forest Service trail engineer, now retired), coordinated the field studies performed by Forest Service staff (Debbie Derby as biologist and Julie Cassidy as archaeologist), and wrote the Environmental Assessment following Forest Service standards.

I also obtained a $58,000 McConnell Foundation grant on behalf of CalTrout to rough-in the trail, with the Forest Service doing the blasting, vault toilet, and Cabin Creek Bridge, and volunteers doing the finish-work on the trail. The trail was approved and roughed-in by 1991.

I was also one of the 25 founding board members of the Mount Shasta Trail Association, which was initially established by the Forest Service to build a trail around Mount Shasta. When that project got caught up in politics associated with proposed ski area expansion and timber harvesting near the trail route, I proposed to the Trail Association board that we help CalTrout by taking the lead on the Squaw Valley Creek Trail, and that we also start the Lake Siskiyou Trail Project. That was the beginning of MSTA’s involvement in both of those projects.

Over the next 15 years or so, the Trail Association hosted numerous volunteer work days to do the finish work, and the Forest Service picked away at the blasting and installed the trailhead vault toilet and Cabin Creek Bridge. With the reduction of logging on national forest lands, they ran out of funding to finish the blasting, so Trail Association member Merle Anderson applied for and obtained a $30,000 Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) grant for the blasting and remaining finish-work on the trail. That grant funding was then transferred to the Forest Service, and they completed the trail several years ago. A trail machine (the Morrison Trailblazer) was used to complete the trail excavation where needed. A trail dedication was held in 2007.

The Squaw Valley Creek Trail Project evolved into quite a group effort over the years, and could not have been completed without the help of literally hundreds of people (mostly volunteers). The Forest Service also played a key role, not only as the landowner, but also due to the keen interest of local staff members who wanted to see this trail happen. The trail is now serving its purpose, which is to give the public an opportunity to enjoy this spectacularly rugged and densely-forested canyon.”