Lots of Elk!!
This is the best of the best for off trail hikes in the Forest Road 64 corridor.
You have to hike down and around to access the bottom of this drainage. You can hike down and around Hubbell Canyon Trail, proceeding up to Fence Line Trail to the bottom of the Bull Elk Trail Drainage. Or, you can hike down the Campsite Cut Canyon and then on down Fence Line Canyon to the bottom. Or, you could hike down Fence Line Canyon from FR 64... However you choose to begin your loop, the real fun starts once your into the drainage proper.
This route is simple: you follow and effective Elk Hiway... the route clearly pounded out, winding around in a very pleasant meander. Most of the trail is hiking under Aspen or Pine or Fir... and the trail climbs through an ever increasing elevation gain. This is a steep trail... but nice. If you are looking at any of the older topo maps, this route is the old trail bed of the Upper Wills Canyon trail. That trail used to route over the ridge and terminate at the Hubble Canyon Trail. Now it ends directly connecting to FR 64. The old route has been abandoned, but this portion is nicely maintained by the large Elk herds regularly using the route to the top.
Eventually, you will emerge onto the edge of a ridge, with an apparent peak top to your right. You can walk off trail to the top hitting around 9660' within a hundred yards. That is close to the highest point in this section of the Sacramento Mountains.
Returning to your path, now following a more open ridge , just below the top to the south, you hike mostly westerly. This more open ridge hike is a great complement to the tree shrouded earlier sections.
Following the trail off and down the ridgeline, you will have an option:
1) follow the trail off the ridge, down to a bench below and to the right... then follow the bench around and to the left... with the trail finally ending in a drainage cut... from which you can climb that gully up and over into the upper reaches of Fence Line Canyon... and down and over to the west and south, intersecting with FR 64
2) instead of following the rocky trail off and down to the right... follow the ridge around and down to the left... and work your way down into the bottom of Fence Line Canyon... from there hiking up to FR 64... Or, down canyon to another connection.
Whichever route you decide upon to end your trek, it is the basic trail area that is the exceptional moment for this off trail adventure. My initial exploration of this route included Elk encounter every 100 yards or so. Bull Elk dominated the day.
This is The Hike! Enjoy!!
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking 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.