With so much poor and inaccurate information floating around since the Valentine’s Day flood event and subsequent heavy snowfalls, I checked on some trailhead access issues today.
Black Mountain Road (4S01) is completely inaccessible by vehicle. Highway 243 is closed both north and south of the start of the road. To the south, the highway is closed – a hard closure with concrete barriers – just north of Alandale, more than two miles before the Black Mountain Road junction. The highway hasn’t even been ploughed north of the closure. Snow is currently about two feet deep there. This closure greatly impacts access to Black Mountain, Fuller Ridge campground and the Pacific Crest Trail at the north end of Fuller Ridge.
Azalea Drive has been narrowly ploughed. This is the access for Marion Mountain Trail, Seven Pines Trail, and associated campgrounds. The ploughed road still requires 4WD/AWD or chains, and has almost no pullout or turn-around opportunities. It has been ploughed only as far as the junction of the Dark Canyon (4S02) and Marion Mountain campground (4S71) roads. Therefore it requires 0.6 mile of snowshoeing to reach the trailhead for Marion Mountain Trail. Snow was about two feet deep there today.
Inexplicably South Ridge Road (5S11) remains open. This is the access for South Ridge Trail and associated yellow post campsites. Although currently covered in deep snow, the upper section of this road was severely damaged on Valentine’s Day, and is both impassable to vehicles and very dangerous.