off road driving
dogs on leash
Very fun, ran in stock '98 4 runner with stock locker (which we used once on the steep up) and zero other trouble. Oh there was a downed tree we had to take outta the road so yeah bring a saw. Did it solo but a second rig might have been nice.
Sadness still abounds. But I'm not going to let the drought hamper my view of the trail, it was a fun on. It was a great view of Isabella pond, and will hopefully be a great view of the lake sometime soon. Be sure to stop and look at the old mine. It looks like a little jail door, but is now actually a bat sanctuary. There is a sign describing that, but it's pretty thrashed and hard to read.
This one is a jewel! We weren't expecting it to be in the real forest, and were very surprised by it. It's well marked and easy to follow, and there are brochures (there were actually some in there) that allow you to take a walking tour of the trail. It's and odd one though, as the peak is 3/4's of the way through instead of half, so although you're climbing for a while, it does end. Geocachers have a little surprise at the top, too. Should be great for snoeshowing, which will be our next stop there.
Lisa A. on Balch Park
great for a day trip with your family
I came to hike this trail having no idea just a few days prior a man started a forest fire that burned basically all the forest up. Luckily the trail was still fairly easy to follow. The view at the top was still worth it. Would love to come back when things grow back up.
I took this trail thinking the sign at the bottom was accurate in the trail's length. The sign was off by my count by a mile. This added 2 miles of heavy climbing to the trip. The trail is easy to follow, but is very steep climbing for most of it. The meadow at the top was disappointing to say the least. I did not go to lookout point. There are enough trees along the trail to give you shade while climbing. I'm not a fast hiker and it took me 6 hours to do the 12 mile round trip.
We pick wild blackberries along Bear Creek Road leading to Balch Park nearly every summer. We haven't been for about 6 years, so we thought we would drive through on our way to Ponderosa to see if there were any berries. I wasn't very optimistic about finding any, given the recent prolonged drought conditions and the late date, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the blackberries bushes were plenty. Unfortunately most berries were dried up or overripe, but persistence paid off with just enough berries in our buckets to make one batch of wild blackberry jam!
I recommend driving up no later than middle of August to harvest a good amount of blackberries at their peak of ripeness! Make sure to wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, close toe shoes and maybe even some latex/rubber gloves as protection against the vicious thorns in the bramble. You don't want thick or leather gloves because the berries are delicate and you will just squish them if you try to pick them wearing leather gloves.
I have a friend that to,d me once about her Balch Park Family camping tradition. They would drive up early enough to stop and pick a bag of blackberries on their way up. She would used them to make wild blackberry syrup and serve over their pancakes for breakfast on the first morning. YUM! What a tradition and what great memories! Something about the labor and pain needs to gather those blackberries just make the reward so much sweeter!
Fishing at Balch Park and picking wild blackberries has definitely been a family favorite!