Friday, June 10, 2016
Hiked all, or part, of three trails today. Started the hike from one trailhead. Finished the hike at another trailhead. Yes… that means this hike requires a shuttle! 🙂 Got an earlier start for this hike because we had to drop one vehicle off at the Embudito Trailhead. Then drove the second vehicle a few miles south to the Embudo Trailhead. Our plan was to hike the Embudo Trail up to Post Pass, where the Embudo Trail ends, then hike the 3 Gun Spring Trail up to Oso Pass, then hike the Embudito Trail down to its trailhead.
Update: For the two other trails that lead to Oso Pass:
Both trailheads are easy to find. Click the map below, then, in the upper-right corner of the screen, change the view from CalTopo to Aerial Google Hybrid, then zoom in to see how to get to the trailheads. There is plenty of parking space at both trailheads, and no parking fees, but that means there are no facilities of any kind, either.
Elevation at the Embudo Trailhead is 6,218 feet. About a mile into the hike, we had to make our way through a boulder garden. The challenge going through the boulder garden is there are no signs to indicate which way to go. You just have to feel your way along. When we did the Whitewash hike out of the Embudo Trailhead a year or so back, at the end of that hike, we come “down” the Embudo Trail. Having now done the boulder garden in both directions, I think it is much easier to find your way through the boulders coming down-trail than it is going up-trail. However, even if you get confused as to which way to go, as we did in one spot, there is nothing to worry about because you really can’t get lost in there. The video contains the entire trek through the boulder garden to give you a feel for what to expect.
The Embudo Trail (#193) runs about 3.4 miles up to Post Pass. At this pass, the Embudo Trail ends as it merges with the 3 Gun Spring Trail. Initial grades on the Embudo Trail are minor, and the climb to Post Pass doesn’t really start until you are about 2 miles into the hike. About a mile from Post Pass, you will run into some stretches with grades in the 15-25% range. Other than the boulder garden, the trail is well-traveled, easy to follow, and mostly covered with scree. Things do get a bit rocky as you get nearer to Post Pass. And there is virtually no shade, so if you hike the Embudo Trail in the summer, consider getting an early start to beat the heat. It took us about two hours to get to Post Pass.
Elevation at Post Pass is 7,881 feet. From Post Pass, you will follow the middle portion of the 3 Gun Spring Trail (#194) for 1.6 miles up to Oso Pass, at an average grade of 7%. This was our first time to see this part of 3 Gun Spring and I was impressed with the trail, as well as the views. This part of 3 Gun Spring is well-traveled, easy to follow, and has a lot of shady areas. The trail was mostly packed dirt, but became more rocky and scree-covered as we got closer to Oso Pass.
Elevation at Oso Pass is 8,456 feet. This is an excellent place to stop for your lunch break, with a couple of big logs to sit on, and enough shade to keep you out of the sun. Oso Pass serves as the junction for three trails: the Embudito Trail, the Whitewash Trail (unmaintained), and the 3 Gun Spring Trail. The Embudito Trail continues on up and ends where it merges with the South Crest Trail (#130S). The Whitewash and 3 Gun Spring trails end at this junction. The hike to Oso Pass from the Embudo Trailhead was 5 miles and took us a little less than three hours.
After lunch, we headed down the Embudito Trail (#192) for the 4 mile hike to the trailhead. The upper-half of this trail is mostly under tree canopy, so there is plenty of shade to keep you out of the sun. The upper-half is a beautiful hike, and even though you will encounter grades in the 10-15% ranges, it is an easy decent over mostly packed dirt and very little scree. Yes, I did say the upper half! 🙂 While the upper-half is mostly scree-free, the lower half is just the opposite — quite rocky with scree everywhere and almost no shade. And since this is towards the end of a fairly long hike, the lower-half of the Embudito Trail is a perfect place for a fall if you don’t pay attention to your footing.
Elevation at the Embudito Trailhead is 6,297 feet and marked the end of a 9 mile hike from the Embudo Trailhead. It took us a little over five hours to complete, so not too bad for a couple of senior hikers! 🙂 And we pretty much had the mountain to ourselves because we only ran across two other hikers at the very end, as we were coming down the Embudito Trail. Can’t beat that! 🙂
Click the map and elevation profile for a larger view. Then click the icons on the map for more information. If the icon notes come up empty, you will have to reload the map.
To view the video full-screen, click to play, then click the 4-cornered square at the bottom-right of the player.