A Day Hike To Indian Pools
Sometimes the best hikes aren't really "hikes" at all. More like mellow strolls. No exertion necessary.
A fine example is located along Highway 168 near Huntington Lake. Enjoy the hike in one afternoon, and you'll still have enough time to spoil dinner with a chocolate shake on the drive home.
Indian Pools is a great place to beat the sweltering heat of summer. Locating the trailhead is a bit tricky, but that doesn't prevent hikers of all ages and abilities from walking along the banks of Big Creek. Most bring towels.
The first thing to look for is the China Peak Ski Area gate. If it is closed, park in the large lot across the highway and start from there. If it is open, drive a half-mile to the far end of the ski area, crossing a bridge over Big Creek, and toward a cluster of mobile homes.
Ignore the dirt road and look for a trail signed "Indian Pools." The path quickly meets up with Big Creek and guides hikers through blooming flowers along the granite-coated stream banks.
At 0.7 miles, the "official" trail ends at a large pool deep enough for jumping and swimming. There also is a large shallow area for wading.
To escape possible weekend crowds, follow a well-worn "use" trail that continues upstream to more pools and waterfalls. Rock cairns or "ducks" help hikers navigate a couple hard-to-follow sections.
The farther you go, the more interesting the terrain becomes.
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