Calveras County Highpoint Trip Report

Corral Ridge (8,170+ feet)

Date: June 20, 2002
Author: anonymous

I won't give a blow-by-blow chronology of this not-too-classic hike on an off-road-vehicle road, but there are several salient points:

1) The trailhead is just 0.1 mile east of the Calaveras-Alpine county line, not 0.6 mile as Suttle says. The turnoff from CA highway 4 is very obscure and totally unsigned.

2) Calaveras is actually a 3-area county. Suttle emphasizes the one with a spot elevation of 8170 feet, which has the register. However there are two other areas 0.4 mile south that exceed the 8160-foot contour. The north area is a bare rocky area; the two south areas, especially the southeast one, are heavily forested. As seen from the north area, it is clear that the southwest area, which is quite small, is lower than the southeast area, so the southwest area need not be visited. Because of heavy forest cover on the southeast area, it is difficult to compare by sight the north and southeast areas. However, it appears from the north area that the southeast area is quite likely about 5-10 feet higher. This observation is corroborated by the fact that the southeast area is much larger than the north area and, while quite broad, it isn't flat enough to admit of less than 10 feet of gain inside the contour. I therefore feel that the southeast area must be visited in order to claim Calaveras county. The highest boulder in the southeast area is marked by a cairn. There is no register.

3) A 15-minute walk north from the north area takes one down ~100 feet to a saddle and up 60 feet to the top of the next hill and, eventually, to a majestic overlook of the Mokelumne River canyon. There is a sweeping view of Mokelumne Peak, which is only 3 air-miles to the north; however, a hike to this peak from this point would drop down 2000 feet to the river and climb 3000 feet up the other side. This obscure and brief but marvelous side trip turns the whole hike from a rather drab one to a near-classic. Nowhere else am I aware of any mention of this well-kept secret. It is not evident from the map in Suttle's book because he clips the map just a little too far south to give any hint at all of this jewel that lingers unseen but so near to a Calaveras county highpointer.

Webmaster's comment. When I visited the southeastern area I indeed found a register with familiar names located therein. One means of reconciling the above description with my observation is to assume that the register I visited was located at a second boulder within the southeastern contour. Another possbility is that the author simply did not find the register - indeed, it was buried rather deeply on the NW side of the obviously artificially constructed cairn. A final possibility exists in that I visited the southeastern contour one week later: the register may have been placed in the intervening timespan - possibly by Jobe Wymore since I found his name in the register with a timestamp only a few days earlier than myself and yet later than the June 20, 2002 of this author's visit.