Destination: Jenkinson Lake Loop
Mileage: 8 miles/9 miles for full loop
Trailhead: Second dam on Mormon Emigrant Trail, south of Pollock Pines
Elevation: 3,500 to 3,600 feet
As a Labor Day adventure Wildlife 4-8, Aspen, and I headed up to Jenkinson Lake for a quick bike/hike. We’d explored the nearby Fleming Meadow Trail System and had fun, so we thought we’d try the lake loop. We parked at the second dam after turning onto Mormon Emigrant Trail from Sly Park Road and hurried east along the road to find the trail. Aspen and I really enjoyed hiking the section of trail from the dam to the second inlet. We were hiking in the shade with lake views and even nabbed a quick geocache. I was thinking this would be a perfect loop for a trail run. Then we met a woman who has proclaimed herself as the dog police and curtly informed us that El Dorado County has a leash law. I told her Aspen was on an invisible leash called a training collar and walked away she then started a rhythmic chant of, “breaking the law.” I would be more accepting of the leash law if I hadn’t crossed paths with a family and their wild bunch running off trail while Aspen walked calmly at my heels. Put those kids on a leash and then I’d be happy to put my dog on a leash. But hey, that’s just my opinion.
Once we crossed over the second inlet bridge shade cover became sparse and people abounded. As we drew closer to the day use area I broke down and put Aspen on the leash, even though she is well behaved I know not everyone is comfortable around dogs. At this point Wildlife 4-8 lapped us on his mountain bike on his second time around the lake. He said it was a decent ride, but forewarned me that there was nothing but people, picnic tables, and squealing kids to come. Shortly after this I finally saw the first sign informing me of the leash law. As we cruised through a campground there were rocks in the trail spray painted white. Leash laws, marked trail hazards, picnic tables galore – I don’t think we’re in the backcountry anymore Aspen!
After passing the boat launch we at least entered back into tree cover and shade but we were still sharing the trail with lots of others. After the second boat ramp I was about done with our over-populated hike. Wildlife 4-8 was back waiting at the truck so I had him meet me at the first parking area so we could soak our feet and have a frosty beverage – cutting my hike a mile short.
This was a decent hike, but quite a few too many people for my liking. Next trip to Pollock Pines I think we’ll visit the Fleming Meadow Trail System again. There are some folks, but nothing close to the hordes the lake attracts.