Forestdale Divide


Summary

Difficulty 3 Intermediate
Length 6.0 miles round trip
Starting
Elevation
7800 feet
Cumulative
Elevation
Change
+1300, -1300 feet
Navigation Road, marked trail and map
Time Most of a day
Season Late November through April
Snowmobiles Not permitted when sufficient snow is present at the Hope Valley Sno-Park at Blue Lakes Road for snowmobiling. This means that the area is closed to snowmobiles nearly the entire snow season. [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Carson Pass
Start Red Lake parking area on Highway 88, 2.3 miles east of Carson Pass.


Description

Intermediate skiers can extend the Forestdale Creek tour to Forestdale Divide in search of wondrous views and outrageous telemark terrain. Mid-winter the slopes of the bowl often provide great powder skiing because the sun never hits the sheltered slopes. In spring the same slopes are coveted for their corn-snow.

The divide is also an excellent vantage point from which to admire the Forestdale Creek drainage and its surrounding peaks and ridges. To the south of the divide the views are toward the Silver City Creek drainage and Blue Lakes.

The Forestdale Divide Loop tour describes a wonderful alternative return route to Forestdale Creek from the Divide. In making the loop, you will exchange the descent down the broad, open slopes of the Forestdale Creek drainage for a secluded descent down a narrow canyon.

The entire Forestdale Creek drainage, including Forestdale Creek Road, is closed to snowmobile use during most of the winter-spring months since February 2008. This is the result of the Alpine County Winter Recreation Project and the ceaseless efforts of the volunteers of Snowlands Network and other organizations.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 1.6
Elevation change: +250, -100 feet

Locate Forestdale Creek Road and the trailhead (1) at the low end of the Red Lake parking area and ski south on the road for 1.6 miles until you reach the bridge across Forestdale Creek (2). There will be a meadow to the east (left) of the route for the first half-mile. Past the meadow you will climb gradually. Beyond the crest of the climb it is a short downhill run to the creek.

Miles: 1.6 - 3.0
Elevation change: +950 feet

Cross the bridge at Forestdale Creek and climb south on the side-slope approximately where the summer jeep road is located, but not visible, for 1.4 miles until you reach Forestdale Divide (3). As you approach the divide veer to the west (right) of where the road is shown on the map in order to stay out of a potential avalanche zone.

Miles: 3.0 - 6.0
Elevation change: +100, -1200 feet

Retrace the route for 3.0 miles back to the trailhead (1).

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
Link to see and submit reviews and corrections about tour