Updated: Dec 24, 2021
This trail can take you to multiple areas in the John Muir Wilderness but we are going to Spanish Lake and Spanish Mountain.
To get to the trail take CA-168 East to Shaver lake - Once in Shaver turn right on Dinkey Creek Road - in about 12 miles turn Right on McKinley Grove Road - Bonus once on McKinley Grove Road you can stop at McKinley Grove (Giant Sequoia Grove) about 5.7 miles once you cross Dinkey Creek Bridge. - Once past McKinley Grove it will be another 15.3 Miles to the trailhead taking you past Wishon Village Store (last stop for supplies) and across Wishon Dam (make sure to look ahead, as it is a one late road over the dam and you take turns crossing) once across the dam there is one last Pit toilet you can use before having to dig catholes. There is parking across from the trailhead with Bear boxes so you can store your extra food so bears don’t break into your vehicle while you are out hiking.
Depending on the time of year you go on this trail the conditions can be different. Early in the season the creek crossings can be a little challenging to cross. Make sure to take your time as water can be cold and swift. Later in the season the creeks become much easier to cross but the trail can become really dusty and soft due to cattle that graze in this area of the forest.
This trail can get you to many different areas and destinations but today we are going to focus on getting to Spanish Lake and the areas near it. Once on the trail your first creek crossing is Little Rancheria Creek. If the water is high and you don’t want to get your feet wet there is a large tree across the creek that can get you over the creek. The first trail junction is about .7 miles in and you want to take the trail to the right to Statum Meadow. The next trail junction is 2.6 miles away and you will want to make a left away from Statum Meadow and head up the hill. It can be tough to find early in the season before the cattle are out grazing. Once at the top there is another trail junction and you will want to stay to the right/straight towards Spanish Lake. Now it is about a little over a mile to get to Spanish Lake. About .8 of a mile in there is one last trail junction. You will want to stay on the edge of the meadow and split the junction sign for the more direct route to the lake. You will have one last climb and have the outlet of Spanish Lake (Statum Creek) to your right. Once you see the stream to your right get wider and shallower you are there! There are a lot of places to camp around this lake, my favorite being on the south side of the lake. This lake looks great in the mornings when the sun is just coming up from the east and the water is glass!!
If you are into bagging peaks Spanish Mountain is about 4 miles roundtrip and 1600 feet of elevation gain from the lake. Make sure to bring a GPS, and track your route with an app (All trails, Runkeeper, Garmin Earthmate to name a few). I would also recommend studying your route so you can figure out the best route for you. I would also recommend visiting summitpost.org and visit the Spanish Mountain page -
Pictures of my last trip to Spanish Lake and Spanish Mountain.
McKinley Grove - Giant Sequoia Grove between Dinkey Creek and Wishon.
Three Springs trail junction
Waterfall and pools on Rancheria Creek
Trail Junction above Statum Meadow
Statum Meadow from above
Last trail junction before getting to Spanish Lake
Spanish Lake in the Morning
Looking North on the ascent to Spanish Mtn. Hoffman Mtn and Finger Rocks can be seen.
Looking North on the ascent to Spanish Mtn. Crown Peak in the distance.
Spanish Mtn. coming into view.
The marker on top of Spanish Mtn.
Looking east from the top of Spanish Mtn. Upper Geraldine lake, with Obelisk in the background.
Looking North East from the top of Spanish Mtn. Fin Ridge and Lower Geraldine in he foreground with Mt. Goddard the prominent peak in the distance.
Enjoying the Views!