Leek Spring Hill Via Foster Meadow Road

Summary  Link to more information about summary

Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 17.0 miles round trip
7050 feet
+1900, -1900 feet
Navigation Road and marked trail
Time Very long day
Season December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Use Low to high [Snowmobile traffic is greater the closer you get to Leek Spring Hill on the groomed snowmobile trail.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Bear River Reservoir, Peddler Hill, Tragedy Spring and Leek Spring Hill
Start Junction of Highway 88 and Foster Meadow Road, 0.8 mile east of Peddler Hill Maintenance Station and 11.1 miles west of the Silver Lake dam. Parking is on the north side of the highway in a cut-out that only holds 4 to 6 vehicles. Park carefully to maximize capacity.

Description   Link to more information about description

The panoramic view from the lookout atop Leek Spring Hill is enough to entice anyone on this tour. The landmarks include Pyramid Peak and the Crystal Range to the north, Thimble Peak and Round Top to the east, and Mokelumne Peak to the south.

On the downside, you will probably have to share this special place with snowmobiles if you come on a weekend or holiday. Try mid-week after a storm and you may be treated to a special experience.

The intermediate-advanced difficulty of this tour is based solely on its length; otherwise it would be rated intermediate because of the final climb to the lookout. Take away the final climb to the lookout and it would be rated beginner.

Once at the lookout, provided you have the energy and time, you can enjoy the powder that is often found on the north side of Leek Spring Hill. The steep slope to the north will challenge your ability to control your speed while negotiating dense woods.

There are two shorter routes to the lookout:

But the route via Foster Meadow Road avoids Iron Mountain Sno-Park, which is a major staging area for snowmobiles.

You can combine the route described here with one of the other two routes to create a shorter one-way trip with little retracing of your tracks. Of course this requires a shuttle vehicle.

Mileage Log   Link to more information about mileage log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Waypoint 1 to 2
Miles: 0.0 - 0.5
Elevation change: -100 feet

From the trailhead (1) ski north and then west on snow-covered Foster Meadow Road for a total of 0.5 mile until you intersect the groomed Silver Bear Snowmobile Trail (2). You will pass a road on your right at 0.1 mile.

Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 0.5 - 1.1
Elevation change: -100 feet

Turn northeast (right) onto the Silver Bear Snowmobile Trail (this is still Foster Meadow Road) and follow it for 0.6 mile until you reach the turnoff for the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River (3). The remainder of the tour is on the groomed snowmobile trail.

Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 1.1 - 3.0
Elevation change: +250, -100 feet

Continue skiing on Foster Meadow Road for 1.9 miles until you reach Anderson Ridge Road (4). Here you will find an excellent view to the west and north. On a clear day you can see the lookout atop Leek Spring Hill.

Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 3.0 - 7.3
Elevation change: +600, -300 feet

Continue skiing on Foster Meadow Road for 4.3 miles until you reach Leek Spring Road (5). To the west (left) the groomed road leads to Leek Spring Hill. To the east (right) the road leads to Mormon Emigrant Trail and should not be groomed though on occasion it has been. At the junction you will also find a groomed snowmobile trail heading east over Plummer Ridge.

Waypoint 5 to 6
Miles: 7.3 - 8.5
Elevation change: +400, -50 feet

Turn west (left) and climb along Leek Spring Road for 1.2 miles until you reach the lookout atop Leek Spring Hill (6). Along this section you will pass two ungroomed roads on your left, but you will probably not notice them.

In this area the terrain allows you to leave the groomed road and pick your own route. Unfortunately snowmobile tracks often crisscross the slopes.

Return to trailhead
Miles: 8.5 - 17.0
Elevation change: +650, -1250 feet

Retrace the route for 8.5 miles back to the trailhead (1).

Print version of map for tour