The Diamond Valley Company
 

 

 

TREK-OF-THE-MONTH

 

CURTZ LAKE / INDIAN CREEK

   
     
 

Best for:
Spring or fall exploring of Washo country, early season flowers, bald eagle sightings, horseback or mountain bike rides.

Park:
Turn on Airport Road off Hwy. 89/4, midway between Woodfords and Markleeville. Hikers park at Curtz Lake, 2.5 mi. in. At 6200 ft. For Markleeville car-shuttle, park second car in Markleeville. For Indian Creek car-shuttle and Stevens Lake, park second car at Indian Creek Reservoir, 3 mi. from Curtz Lake on Airport Rd.

Maps:
USGS: Markleeville and Freel Peak


THE HIKES:
Summit Lake, 2.5 mi., 200 ft.; Summit Lake to Indian Creek car-shuttle, 4.5 mi., elevation loss. Fremonts Crossing, 4 mi., 1000 ft., Fremonts Crossing to Markleeville car-shuttle, 4.5 mi. (2.5 mi. off-trail), 300 ft.; Stevens Lake, .5-mi., no elevation. (note: all distances are round-trip, except as noted for car shuttles)

To Summit Lake, take the trail which begins at the gate on the north side of Curtz Lake. Keep an eye out for eagles, hawks as well as waterfowl on the way to this small but pleasant lake. To Indian Creek car-shuttle take the trail out the northeast side of Summit Lake, through an intervening flat, and then east and down through piñon forest. To Stevens Lake, drive to Indian Creek Reservoir and take the short walk from the far end of the campground.

The trail to Fremonts Crossing is on the opposite side of the road, east side, from Curtz Lake. It takes you 2 miles down to the East Carson River Canyon, where Fremont’s expedition passed through in 1844. Today during the early part of the summer you might see rafters shooting by this stretch of the river. For Markleeville car-shuttle, head upriver from the crossing, off-trail, scrambling and side-hilling outcroppings for the first mile. Then you walk through Jeffrey pine forests that border the pastures leading to the town.

A nature trail begins at the south end of Curtz Lake, across the highway. And you can extend this short nature walk by going off-trail from the southerly loop of the trail. Head up, southerly, to volcanic nubs with dead-on views of Raymond and other peaks above Markleeville.

Mountain bikers: BLM roads take off from Indian Creek Reservoir, on its east side. These roads connect with Diamond Valley Road, which can be ridden west toward Woodfords and then back to the car via Highway 89/4, making about a 10-mile loop. Fishermen: Walk in to Summit Lake to float tube for brook trout, or drive to Indian Creek Reservoir for some of the area’s biggest rainbows, brooks and Lahontan cut throat. Boat ramp available.

Indian Creek is large enough for sailing, and also a convenient spot to make a kayak or canoe excursion.

 

Our previous schuss-of-the-month