Sunday, March 13, 2016

Hiking Salt Lake WMA–South Lake Area

TrailheadThe Salt Lake WMA trailhead is about a mile southeast of Salt Lake, as the crow flies.  There is ample parking, and a trailhead kiosk with paper copies of maps of the area.  Very close, just to the west of the trailhead is a hunt check-station with a pit toilet.

The trail starts out heading south along Power Line Rd; parts of this trail are ideal for biking.  For today’s hike, I wanted to head to South Lake so I followed this dirt road south for a little less than half a mile.  There is a picnic table on the side of the rPicnic Tableoad which marks the spot where I turned off the main road to head east.  Along the main road, I noticed that there were white blazes on the trees – these same white blazes mark the trail heading to the east.

First water hazardThe trail turns to the south after a couple hundred yards, and eventually took me to the first of two water hazards to negotiate on this trip; it was easy to walk around both of them without getting wet.  It was along this portion of the trail that I startled a very-well camouflaged turkey.Bench by white trail

A little beyond the water, the trail joins up with another trail with a bench along the side.  This trail also had white blazes, so I would bet that all the trails back here have the same blazes.  It was along this part of the trail that I saw a couple of deer hopping across the trail and off into the brush. 

Trail view-3This portion of the trail leads to the east for about a half mile before joining up with Bear Bluff Rd.  This is where I turned towards the north to get to the shore of South Lake.  There are a couple of small stretches of sugar sand on this part of the hike, but it isn’t long enough to be tiring.Picnic area by overlook

After hiking for about a quarter of a mile to the north, I came to an intersecting trail heading off towards the lake shore.  This is the view that I was hoping for.  Across the lake there were different types of water fowl fishing for lunch, so I decided to join them and take a break to enjoy my own lunch.  This is a really peaceful spot with a cool breeze blowing across the water and not a sound to be heard except for the birds and a few frogs. 

Bench by yellow trailFor the trip back, I followed some yellow blazes (technically I’m not in the Salt Lake WMA at this point).  They seem to mark a trail that follows the shore for longer than I wanted – with rain expected later in the afternoon, it was getting close to the time that I wanted to head back.Trail view-5

Heading west from the lake trail, the trail is back to a grassy road for about half a mile before turning south and bringing me to the second water hazard to walk around.  Along this part of the trail I looked up to see a bald eagle flying around with what appeared to be a juvenile eagle.

This really is a great spot to visit.  It’s an easy hike, mostly across grassy roads, with some really nice views.  If you head out this way, I really recommend planning your trip so you end up along side the lake for a picnic lunch.  As always, you can download a gpx file for this hike by clicking on the “Trip Details” link at the bottom of the map.

Click a photo for full size, or hover for a description.
(More photos in the Photo Gallery)

Trail view-1 Trail view-2 Trail view-4Ants eating snake
Second water hazard Yellow blazed trail Spring oasis
Picnic area South Lake from overlook Bone Yard

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