Monday, August 15, 2011

Bassi Creek Loop Hike - Crystal Basin Recreation Area

          The starting point for the Bassi Creek Loop Hike is located near the Tells Creek Equestrian Camp. From the locked gate at the beginning of the trailhead we made our way down the dirt road admiring wildflowers along the way.

Leichtin's Mariposa Lily

Little Tiger Lily

          Within seconds we crossed over Tells Creek which still had ample flow even this late in the season. The road travels along the edge of Van Vleck meadow opposite Van Vleck Bunkhouse. After a few minutes of hiking we came to a 3 way junction where new trail signs had recently been installed. One road was labeled Highland Trail, another was labeled Loon Lake, and the last one was signed as the Red Peak Trail. We took a right onto the Red Peak trail which remained relatively flat before reaching the sign for the Bassi Creek Trail. We noted that the road up to the Bassi Creek Trail would be great for mountain biking.
          Up until now we had been on fire roads, however The Bassi Creek Trail leaves the Red Peak Trail as singletrack.

Start of the Singletrack and Bassi Creek Trail

          We followed the trail downhill for about a hundred yards and as Bassi Creek became audible we took a faint use trail down towards the creek. As luck would have it, we happened on a decent sized waterfall with quite an impressive torrent. I’m not sure if these Falls are on any map but I’m calling them Upper Bassi Falls.

Upper Bassi Falls

          We found a partially shaded spot next to the creek where we ate lunch and dipped our feet in the icy cold water. By this time it was mid day and the sun was scorching. We stayed on the west side of the creek as we figured we’d explore the east side another day.
          After lunch and ample time relaxing we followed the trail south along Bassi Creek. It lead downhill for about a mile offering views of the creek along the way. We came to a gorgeous section of the creek where it levels out among expansive slabs of granite.

Bassi Creek

          We opted to bypass the trail to Upper Bassi Ranch and continued southwest along the loop. The trail eventually leads away from Bassi Creek and heads northwest back towards Tells Creek Equestrian Camp and the trailhead. We came to several boggy sections that proved difficult to pass without getting our boots a bit muddy. Wildflowers were sporatic as were several species of butterfly.

Some type of Field Crescent??

Pacific Fritillary - Boloria epithore

          A short distance further brought us to a junction with the Sun Rock Trail where we veered right t stay on the Bassi Loop. After the trail bottoms out it begins the final ascent to regain any elevation lost. Before long we found ourselves at Tells Creek which told us we were finishing up the loop. The trail let out at the Tells Creek Equestrian Camp where we took a right and walked the short distance back to our car.

(Click HERE to read more about Day 1 of our Crystal Basin Trip)

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