New trailhead for Desolation Wilderness
Hikers and visitors will no longer be allowed to park cars along Highway 50 at Twin Bridges to access the Horsetail Falls trail.
A new trailhead, called Pyramid Creek, and a 40-space parking lot are now open to accommodate day visitors as well as campers who use the area as an entrance to Desolation Wilderness.
The $300,000 project, managed by Eldorado National Forest, also includes construction of a 1.5-mile creekside trail loop and restrooms next to the parking lot.
If campers want to leave their cars overnight in the lot, they must obtain a U.S. Forest Service permit. Parking for day visitors costs $3 and should be paid on-site in a drop box. The money collected pays for upkeep of the area.
Eldorado had planned to rework the site since 1997, but construction didn’t begin until last fall. Trash and safety issues, such as people walking up the creek to get a better look at it, prompted the project.
“There is lot of use in the area and we wanted to give people a creekside experience without going up that Horsetail trail,” said Frank Mosbacher, public affairs officer.
Parking was also a major problem, he said. In the past, cars would park in the dirt along Highway 50. Drivers backed out onto the highway and blocked entrances to summer cabins. The old parking area has been filled with dirt. The soil berm created by the fill is partially landscaped, with more trees to be planted in coming days.
“The parking will be limited just to where parking spaces are,” Mosbacher said. “We built the berm for two reasons: one, it’s a safety issue with people backing onto the highway, and number two, to manage capacity (in the area).”
Forest rangers will ticket people illegally parked in the parking lot while the California Highway Patrol will enforce the no-parking area along the highway.
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