Kelliher Trail

6.8 miles from G.T. mod. steep 5 miles R.T.               MAP

FS 11EO8 Georgetown Quad sec 19 trail from Bottle Hill Rd. to Volcanoville

This trail leaves Bottle Hill Road near Little Bald Mt. dropping steeply via switchbacks about 1 ½ miles down to Otter Creek. Named for the homesteading family that lived at Otter Creeks confluence with Quartz Creek during the gold rush, Mr. Kelliher mined while Mrs. Kelliher grew and sold produce to the miners. Extensive rock walls can still be admired at the site. The trail also continues up the other side to Volcanoville and becomes FS road 13N35 which leads to Paymaster Mine Road.

Back during the gold rush years a family named Kelliher had a homestead down on Otter Creek near its confluence with Quartz Creek. While Mr. Kelliher worked as a miner Mrs. Kelliher reportedly grew a vast vegetable garden and sold produce to the local miners. The garden was watered from the year-round Quartz Creek. The south-facing rock garden terraces can still be found there.

Directions: Take Wentworth Springs road 2 ¾ miles to turn L on Breedlove. Go 2 ½ miles to turn L again on Bottle Hill Road (not always signed but a skewed 4 way intersection). Go 1 ½ miles through a cool forest of pines and mountain misery to the trailhead on the right. The trailhead is right where the forest turns into a Serpentine area of twisted Grey pines and lots of green rock.

The trail heads down through a California Bay scented forest crossing the Jones ditch (abandoned) a hundred yards along the way. It goes through a Serpentine desert area where only specially adapted plants (endemics) can tolerate the poor nutrient soil here that lacks Calcium. You pass under the powerlines strung by helicopter in the 1970’s to service Oxbow Reservoir.

Gazing across the canyon you may notice Quartz Creek coming down the opposite side and the faint trail going up to the west of the creek.

The trail soon re-enters a forest of pine and Douglas fir as it switchbacks to Otter Creek. At the bottom evidence of much mining activity is found in the form of tailing piles and an old mining tunnel with graffiti from 1927. The trail goes down-stream a short ways to a crossing, then climbs up and through the old homestead site, with the garden area hidden to the left. If you wish you can take the trail up the other side thanks to the efforts of volunteers who have cleared the trail to Paymaster Mine Road.

Click HERE to view the Take A Hike! version of this hike.

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