Round Valley from Poison Canyon

Summary  Link to more information about summary

Difficulty 4 Intermediate-advanced
Length 4.0 miles round trip
7550 feet
+1300, -1300 feet round trip
Navigation Road and map
Time Most of a day
Season December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Use Not permitted [Please report illegal use of snowmobiles in this area.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Tamarack, Mokelumne Peak
Start Round Valley Sno-Park, 0.2 mile north of Highway 4 on Highway 207 (the road to Bear Valley Mountain Resort).

Description   Link to more information about description

If you like the Poison Canyon Loop tour, maybe you are up for the slightly longer tour through Poison Canyon to Round Valley. You get all the benefits of the shorter tour, excellent touring terrain, fantastic opportunities for linking turns, panoramic vistas to the south of the red cliffs of the Dardanelles and beyond, and is located in an area closed to snowmobile use, plus you get to visit secluded Round Valley that is completely surrounded by ridges.

Image of vista toward Dardanelles Red banded cliffs of the Dardanelles and beyond

Most of Poison Canyon is not wooded and the slopes though steep are quite uniform in steepness. Therefore there is no optimum route through the canyon to reach Round Valley. The Poison Canyon Loop tour is a way to experience different parts of the canyon on a single visit but the route to Round Valley takes a direct route through the canyon. That said, there is no reason why you can't add the extension to Round Valley to the loop tour.

Although Round Valley is an excellent destination, ideal for a snack or lunch stop, nearby Mount Reba is the premier destination in the area if you are willing to tackle what is likely to be a windswept ridge.

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 - 0.1
Elevation change: +100 feet

From the trailhead (1) at the Sno-Park, ski northeast on the snow-covered road for 0.1 mile until you reach a location where you can turn and head north (left) (2).

Waypoint 2 to 3
Miles: 0.1 - 0.6
Elevation change: +350 feet

Climb north, zigzagging as required, for 0.5 mile until you reach a ridge (3). You will pass through trees as you approach the ridge.

Waypoint 3 to 4
Miles: 0.6 - 1.4
Elevation change: +550 feet

Climb to the northeast, at first along a ridge and then across open slopes, for a total of 0.8 mile until you reach Peak 8605 (4).

Image approaching Peak 8605 Approaching Peak 8605

Waypoint 4 to 5
Miles: 1.4 - 1.7
Elevation change: -100 feet

Descend slightly east of north for 0.3 mile through trees until you reach a saddle (5). Along this section, look for a view of the ridge leading to Mount Reba and Round Valley below.

Image of slople descending to saddle Descending from Peak 8605 to the saddle

Image of ridge leading to Mount Reba with Round Valley below Ridge leading to Mount Reba with Round Valley below

Waypoint 5 to 6
Miles: 1.7 - 2.0
Elevation change: -200 feet

Ski west for 0.3 mile until you reach a point in Round Valley that affords a good view (6).

Return to trailhead
Miles: 2.0 - 4.0
Elevation change: +300, -1000 feet

Retrace the route for 2.0 miles back to the trailhead (1). As an alternative you can pick a different route from Peak 8605 to the trailhead; see Poison Canyon Loop tour for one possibility.

Print version of map for tour