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Palmer Mill Road to Palmer Mill Fire Break +

Posted: December 17th, 2019, 2:10 am
by Solofemalehiker35
12/16/19 Hiked up Palmer Mill Road Via Angels Rest Overflow Parking Lot (no bathrooms and paved parking for 10+ cars) First car in the lot when I arrived well before sunrise and both lots were almost full when I left at 11:30am. to Dark Larch Ghost Town Trail ( less than a half mile in on the trail I lost the path and decided to turn around and try it via another approach on a different day. The ground was frozen and trail was lost due to the fire break.) Decided to check out the fire break on Palmer Mill Rd ( maybe more than double creek crossings with lots of logs to maneuver over if you decide to continue hiking past the fire break. Not sure how many miles long the fire break is.) On the way out I checked out 1600 trail which has a huge gate and is on the uphill side of the creek. (LOTS OF POISON OAK in this general area!!!) There are a lot of blowdowns on trail 1600, but the less than mile I hiked on trail I could always see a path, definitely worth a try as it connects to Dark Larch Ghost Town Trail and will take you to Devils, Angels and beyond. Some boggy areas on 1600 as well after a good rain. Back on Palmer Mill Road there is a house across the bridge and before the road closure gates with a roaming skittish German Sheppard, didn't see the pup early in the am but did see the pup later in the am. Came across a large carcass on the side of Palmer Mill across from the slide area. In the same area of the house and a bit past the closure gates I saw a shortcut trail going to trail 1600 but did not check it out fully (looked for it early in the am, but could not see anything.). There are no trail or road signs for this area so make sure you have some form of navigation to guide you. Palmer Mill Road is fairly steep for the first 3 miles or so then starts to get a more gradual up to it. Wanted to try and find Palmer Mill Site, but might have to check that out from a different trail/road as well. Beautiful area.

1.75 miles in on Palmer Mill Road you see the first road closure barricade and gate. A short distance up and to the left you will see a small footpath uphill (I'm assuming to trail 1600).
3.81 miles in you will come across a clearing with dry grass and a vague trail leading into the fire break ( I believe this is one of the entrances to the Dark Larch Ghost Town Trail).
4.5 miles or a little less you will come to Bridal Veil Creek Crossing and the fire break, it is also barricaded before creek with boulders. Sorry some of the photos are sideways, can't figure out how to have them the right way as on my phone they are the right way up. 9.36 miles total with close to 2000ft elevation gain.

Re: Palmer Mill Road to Palmer Mill Fire Break +

Posted: December 17th, 2019, 10:39 am
by Bosterson
Wow, I had to do some digging online to figure out what some of these places are. It looks like the "Dark Larch" thing is some singletrack/forest road bike route someone made up and posted online? And the "1600 trail" appears to just be an old road running north from Palmer Mill (it's not labeled "1600" until you go back to the "scanned" layer in Caltopo). I'm not quite sure how far up you went - 4.5 mi would take you to approx Mult Basin Rd, and there's no barricade up there that I'm aware of? (Last time I was there was in the snow and I went E onto Palmer Mill up towards Larch.)

Re: Palmer Mill Road to Palmer Mill Fire Break +

Posted: December 17th, 2019, 2:01 pm
by aiwetir
I recently saw Dark Larch and the 1600 road on the Strava Heatmap which has an old basemap (they are now gone I think). The Dark Larch thing is a gravel bike thing of which the route has been "unpublished" since the fire but there’s a reroute.

Can’t find any good GPS tracks of them (yet) and since I’ve done so much mapping in the Gorge, I was probably the one who deleted them from OSM. I’m sure I can find Dark Larch tracks. 1600, not sure.

Re: Palmer Mill Road to Palmer Mill Fire Break +

Posted: December 17th, 2019, 2:21 pm
by Bosterson
The 1600 Road only shows up on the "Scanned 7.5 minute" layer in Caltopo; they removed the number designation from it in the USFS map layers.
1600 Road.jpg
Edit: good note, DN - the "1600" was so bold that I assumed it was a designation (like other trails have), but that's just the font that scanned map uses for contour lines! ;)

Re: Palmer Mill Road to Palmer Mill Fire Break +

Posted: December 17th, 2019, 4:06 pm
by aiwetir
I doubt that alignment is correct although it may be better than nothing. Most trails in that area were quite a bit off, sometimes 1/4 to 1/2 mile before we had gps data.

Re: Palmer Mill Road to Palmer Mill Fire Break +

Posted: December 17th, 2019, 4:48 pm
by Don Nelsen
The above map is accurate as to road alignments but very incomplete. There is a complicated trail and old road network in that area but much of it was made into firebreaks during the 2017 fire. Following the fire, most of the road network was destroyed and dug up with thousands of trees cut down or pulled down to hinder access. All of the trails are still there but with little use and with difficult access they are becoming very over grown.

The "Dark Larch Ghost Town" trail's historic name is Smith Road - at least the eastern 60% of it. It was completely destroyed post fire. The "1600" trail's name was apparently taken from the 1600' elevation contour that happened to be printed on the map near where it left Palmer Mill Road.

I found this map that lists the old logging road as the "1600" trail and also shows the Ghost Town trail. All of the "1600" "trail" and 95% of the Dark Larch Ghost Town trail is an old logging road with the part east of the junction with the Devil's Rest trail being the old Smith Road. The first bit of the south end of the DLGT is partly on a trail but hits an old logging road in about a quarter mile.



Re: Palmer Mill Road to Palmer Mill Fire Break +

Posted: December 18th, 2019, 2:00 am
by aiwetir
Well I’d kinda like to get those back on the map but that area has always been confusing to me and the fire didn’t help.

What do you think is the easiest/quickest way into this area