hawkfeather wrote:I've been over both routes to Bear Creek, various times. In fact, I was on the Sierra Club trip with you umpteen years ago when you walked in to Bear Dam (if you're who I think you are).
That would be 15 years ago...hard to believe it's been that long. You may recall that I wound up doing the 4WD section twice, because I had to hike out a sick trip member (I think I got a ride for the third leg).
Let's see now...I believe Helen was from Mission Viejo, and I remember Helen saying she had been to Chamberlain Lake. Is that you? In any case, good to hear from you!
That's an awful, shadeless walk. So, if you haven't got a vehicle that will make it in, I highly recommend going in over the ridge (as you go up towards Edison, the TH and parking area is off to the right). It's a prettier route, with good views, and you'll come out in that dry meadowy area up the trail from the dam.
Thanks! That's exactly the sort of information I was after.
GB, I ran a Topo! profile and the 4WD road actually came out with slightly more elevation gain than the ridge route on the way in (within the margin of error; I'd call them equivalent). The 4WD road does some extra climbing before dropping back down to the dam. Hiking out is another story--that would involve maybe 500' of additional gain.. The ideal would be to hike in on the cutoff and out via the dam road.
In any case, the only person so far who has hiked both recommends the cutoff, so that's what I'm inclined to go with. I do hate that dam road.