4.6 miles from Georgetown. Easy, moderate trails. MAP
Another excellent place close to Georgetown with plenty to see, easy trails to explore, and gemstones to find is Traverse Creek. What more should anyone ask for? This public land is managed by the Georgetown District of the U.S.F.S. and special consideration is given for unusual plants that have adapted to the unique offerings of Serpentine soil (endemic plants). A kiosk near the parking lot offers information about the unique geology, the botany, and the Native American’s use of the local plants.
The area is also referenced in many Rock and Mineral publications for the variety of rocks that can be found here, including emeralds. It was a patented mining claim from 1918-54 when the Stifle family mined emeralds and sold them to Tiffany’s jewelers in New York.
Bed rock mortars on the east side of the creek lie in testament of the Native Americans who spent many moons grinding acorns collected from the nearby Leather Oaks. Look for the scruffy hardy miniature oak bushes endemic to the Serpentine soil.
Directions: Take Highway 193 3.3 miles to Meadowbrook Rd. (before Black Oak Mine). Turn Left for another 1.3 miles to where Meadowbrook Rd. ends at Bear Creek Rd. The parking lot is on the left across the bridge.
Trails are easy to follow looping around the area with bridges provided over creeks. Thick chaparral (brush) thwarts hikers from straying too far from the main trails, but many minor trails present themselves for further exploring. The Mar-Det trail (moderately steep with easy sections) also leaves from this area and goes all the way to Camp Virner (6 miles one way).
Serpentine Rock is associated with gold and a beltway of the rock traces along the entire Mother Lode. Easy to recognize with its deranged character of different shades of green, the stone enjoys the company of mangled looking Grey Pines and Leather Oaks.
This trails of this area are unusually rocky and rough due to the nature of the Serpentine. Sturdy shoes or boots are recommended.