Balarat from Boulder County Rd 87, 03/27/2004

Driving up Lefthand Canyon, after Jamestown we took a right onto Balarat Hill Road (County Road 87) and drove a few miles up to the gate where CR87 is closed to motorized vehicles near the entrance of the Cal-Wood Conservation Education Resource Center. We started hiking from here at 11:08 heading down CR87 which at this point is open only to foot traffic, on a blustery day with a few snow flakes falling. Reaching Long Gulch Creek, we turned left onto a dirt road that follows the creek, then soon turned right following a road up toward the ridge on the northwest side of Long Gulch Creek, passing some old mines. There is an extensive network of old roads here, and we followed some of them as we headed to our right, finally reaching a high point on the ridge. From there we followed the ridge northwest for a few miles until it begins a steep descent down to State Highway 7. At that point we headed southeast, off the ridge, to Long Gulch Creek, and the Barking Dog Trail. Reaching the trail, we turned left hiking down the creek, finally making it to mile marker 24 of Highway 7 at 13:30. For our return, we hiked up the creek, along the Barking Dog Trail, passing the old mining site of Balarat, eventually reaching Boulder County Rd 87. We reached the point where we initially met Long Gulch Creek, at 14:20. Going partially up the ridge again, where we had started the loop, we eventually turned around, then headed back up CR 87 where our truck was parked, finishing our hike at 15:05.

Topomap of Balarat and Smuggler Mine Area