Forest Road 64 creates an arterial feed connecting a very large number of official and unofficial hiking routes. The three barricaded logging roads labeled 64OB are found on your left just as you begin driving around the first curve of the road... after you have turned off from Sunspot Hiway.
Two of the Three metal pole barricades block off very short roads.
The one on your immediate left goes up to the old Observatory Labratory, now a storage dump. That is a pleasant stroll of less than .2 mile.
The middle road continues for a bit further, winding down and around behind the old Observatory, dead ending a short distance away from the official trailhead for the Old Sunspot Hiway. You can walk down through the trees to join up with that official route. This old logging road follows the ridge that forms the split between the north and south branch of Water Canyon. There are a variety of good observation points to pause and watch the meadow areas below in the Canyon drainage.
The third road... the one on the far right, is the route with the true hiking potential. This route takes off and winds down and around the south side of Water Canyon, eventually curving around and dropping down into Deadman Canyon.
The roadbed nearly makes it to the bottom, but stops just short. .7 miles around the hill you will have to do a bit of off trail hiking to access the open meadow of Deadman Canyon. I suggest continuing to angle sofly around, slowly dropping to the bottom... you will be nearly to the intersection with 6409, and one mile into your day at that point. On the Topo map this route is shown to be the Sacramento North Trail... it is not!
Of course, Deadman offers the potentials for heading down and around to all of the Water Canyon connecting loops... or, up and around to the routes in Deadman Canyon... looping to Brown Canyon and beyond.
This 64OBTrailhead is also the start for your hike of the upper section of Water Canyon... instead of following any of the three barricaded roads, simply walk down canyon between the middle and right hand barricade.
64OB....OB... as in OBservatory... the Observatory on Forest Road 64... 64OB!
If you choose to camp at the trailhead you will find a variety of nice, easy to access flat areas, and abundant fire wood (assuming wood fires are being allowed!) At over 9400' you will be high and cool. Here on June 24, 2012... Mid-afternoon temps were in the low 70's!!.. and that is with the sun shining... clouds would have dropped it down into the 60's.
Motorhomes would have no problem pulling into these nicely shaded areas.
Note: on the Topo maps, the longer hike is labeled as Sacramento North Trail... now, that trail officially lies off FR 64 heading down to Sunspot Hiway, running the opposite direction off the ridge! Be aware.
Observe...and Enjoy! - Jun 25 2012 imikeOne-Way Notice:
This hike is listed as One-Way. When you hike several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example