Muddy Fork Section of Timberline Trail

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Muddy Fork Section of Timberline Trail

Post by dpex » July 1st, 2013, 12:21 pm

On Saturday, June 29, I hiked the Muddy Fork section of the Timberline Trail (Ramona Falls TH to Ramona Falls to Yokum Ridge to upper Muddy Fork crossing to Bald Mountain to Horse Ford t Ramona Falls TH) specifically to check out trail conditions on this poorly maintained section of the TT. I had attempted this section Memorial Day weekend in 2012 and was turned around by snow conditions just south of the MF crossing.

South section of trail from Yokum Ridge trail junction to MF crossing is in need of maintenance. Two sections of severe blowdown on the trail. The first landslide has increased in width, with some down trees now added to the challenge. I would rate this landslide as difficult, and not suitable for novice hikers.

The second landslide has stablized, and is not difficult to cross.

The southern branch of the Muddy Fork crossing is hazardous and not suitable for novice hikers. The flow is fast, deep, and murky. It is unsafe to simply forge ahead and wade the stream. There is only one feasible place to cross, upstream from where the trail encounters the river. Upstream, there is one place where a log is jammed and crosses a portion of the river. This log can be used to brace against as you wade the river, and gets you close enough to make the crossing. At that point, you need to head downstream to intercept the trail on the north bank. Please note that in going downstream, you will encounter a cut-bank with a 4-foot vertical drop. Not much of a drop, but it must be navigated, as the brush is too thick for bushwacking. After getting past this drop, in about 30 feet the trail recommences to the right. The northern branch is not as fast or deep, and can be easily waded in several spots.

After that it is a walk in the park to Bald Mountain (small landslide en route, but not difficult). The hiker bridge that used to be upstream from Horse Ford is out. There are a couple of large trees across MF just downstream of the Horse Ford. There is a good rope on one tree, which makes this crossing rather easy, after squeezing past the root ball on the north side of the ford.

I hike this with my 60-pound labradoodle, who is not a water dog. He had to be led across all the water crossing, but he did fine.

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Re: Muddy Fork Section of Timberline Trail

Post by woodswalker » July 2nd, 2013, 7:07 am

Great to hear about trail conditions. I've wanted to do the much more modest hike of coming down from Bald mountain area to the muddy fork crossing and check out the water falls. You can see them from above but I'd like to get a closer look.
Thanks for the update.

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Re: Muddy Fork Section of Timberline Trail

Post by Splintercat » July 2nd, 2013, 8:33 am

Hey woodswalker - that's a favorite afternoon hike of mine! Great for early season, as you avoid crossing glacial streams, and generally very uncrowded (compared to the freeway that is the McNeil Point hike). Here's a video I put together of the Yocum Ridge Waterfalls a few years ago, during peak runoff in July:

Someday, I'd like to bushwhack over to the base of the waterfalls, but it looks like a rather gnarly push through alder thickets... not to mention fording both branches of the Muddy Fork in high water! I guess the alternative is to come up from the Ramona Falls side..?

Tom :)

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Re: Muddy Fork Section of Timberline Trail

Post by BigBear » July 2nd, 2013, 9:04 am

I believe the portion of the old Timberline Trail between Yocum Ridge Jct. and the Bald Mtn cutoff trail has been decommissioned by USFS. The combination of slides and lahars on the Muddy Fork have made this section of trail a maintnance nightmare.

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Re: Muddy Fork Section of Timberline Trail

Post by retired jerry » July 3rd, 2013, 11:57 am

A couple years ago there were signs saying the TT trail was closed between Yocum and Muddy Fork. I did it last summer and all the signs were gone. They had done enough work to make it passable, but that whole route including MF crossing is difficult.

Did you say the bridge over Muddy Fork for the PCT is out? Where it goes up from Ramona Falls trail up towards Top Spur? That's too bad, hasn't been around very long. The last couple years it has been rotating so the hand rail was on top so difficult to walk across.

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Re: Muddy Fork Section of Timberline Trail

Post by aircooled » August 1st, 2013, 8:46 pm

Was it possible to bushwhack above the Yocum washout?

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Re: Muddy Fork Section of Timberline Trail

Post by at2010 » August 5th, 2013, 9:46 am

I hiked through here on Aug 1, 2013. The landslides were stable enough. You do need to be careful with where you put your feet. This section has not been maintained as well as other parts (it's Wilderness, and no power tools are allowed), so there will be more downed tree crossings. The area both before and after the fork is lushly overgrown. The vegetation almost completely covers the trail in parts. The Muddy fork itself could be tricky to cross right at the trail junction. I hiked upstream to where the fork was split into multiple smaller creeks and crossed there. Still had to get the feet wet.

I found a green REI 65 liter backpack with some stuff and a walking stick at a small water fall before reaching the Muddy Forks campsite * (going clockwise). Looks like it had been abandoned by a larger young person. Couldn't find a name. Left it there. A hiker that was leaving reported it to the Ranger station at the Bald Mt entrance to the trail. Thought I'd post it here so that the person(s?) would go back and get it before someone took it. (And I'm counting on all you honest hikers out there not to go up and take it!)

Happy Hiking!

* Muddy Forks has a very nice campsite about 1/4 mile before the fork (clockwise) with a good small clear stream a hundred yards or so towards the river xing. Water from Muddy forks is, well, muddy and I wouldn't use it.
Picture of the found backpack.

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