found nothing swift about Swift Creek trail Oh! except the creek, the trail starts
out in Granite Creek Valley beneath the grandeur of this special mountain
valley's towering sentinels at about 6.800 foot elevation. You climb imperceptibly
through sagebrush and wildflower meadows interspersed with groves of conifers
draw up close to the creek you start ascending through forest and small meadows
and for a while lose the views of the mountains. Here the terrain flattens
out for a bit and you cross the creek, the trail breaks north to reveal the
mountains once again, North Cliff Wall on the left and Corner Peak to the
right. A trail through the meadow to the right provides trail access to MacLeod
Lake high up on Corner Peak. Then up a little farther you see it, God accidentally
misplaced one of Yosemite's water falls halfway up this canyon. What a pleasant
Swift Creek Falls
After I lost site of the waterfall the trail started to climb through a series of switchbacks, I got off my horse to lead him through the steep stuff. As the trail climbed steeply the views changed with the rapidly changing vantage points, I soon could also see the Wyoming Range in the distance to the southwest.
A ways above the waterfall the trail crossed
a small glacier that came off of Corner Peak, it was easy
to cross. There were
lots of rocks sticking out of the top of it and part of it
was collapsed and you could see the stream running underneath,
I was sorry my son wasn¡t along on this hike/ride because I
had recently been explaining glacial moraine structure and
this would have been a good practical example to illustrate
glacier function to him.
Swift Creek Bench
The trail continued climbing and I started
wondering if it would have been easier to leave the horse
at home this time.
It seemed as though that I was towing a 1,000-pound animal
that wasn¡t in the mood for a hike up a steep mountain so that
he could carry my canteen and granola bar.
In spite of my equine dumb waiter I made it to what looked like the Crystal Creek divide in good time, there was too much snow at the end of June to go any farther and it looked like the trail started down into the Crystal Creek drainage. I later found out I was just on a bench at about 9,600 feet. From the bench though I could look up a canyon on Antoinette Peak elevation 11,407 feet.
I marveled at the view, took a few photos then started my return, my horse loves
going home so I thought he would follow me down but he lost his incentive to
rush home without my ample girth ruining his trip to the woods so I started
towing him back down the mountain, Some folks ride through anything and horses
can go up and down amazing things but on some terrain I prefer to walk.
This region is home to elk, moose, deer, bighorn sheep,
black and grizzly bear, wolves, mountain lion and many other species. I saw
several deer and
sheep scat in the steep sub-alpine region at the saddle. There are probably
trout in the creek but it didn¡t look like great trout habitat.
summer time temperatures to range from highs in the 70s-80s during
the day to lows of around 30 at night. Afternoon thunderstorms with
lightning and rain showers are common in the summer. It can snow any
day of the year and has, so visitors should come prepared for a wide
variety of weather and temperature conditions. Remember Murphy¡s Law
and pack accordingly.
This awesome express to the high country was about a 6 mile round trip, to get to the true divide I would guess would be another steep mile. This is one of the prettiest hikes/rides I have seen and was surprised to see no one on a summer Sunday
Granite Hot Springs a pool built by the WPA in the 1930¡s
below the towering peaks of Granite Canyon at the end of Granite Creek Road
makes pleasant conclusion to any hike in the region.
Directions to Trailhead: From Jackson follow Hwy. 89 South to Hoback Junction. Go east on Hwy. 191 approx. 11 miles to Granite Creek Road and turn left. Follow this road to a parking area on the right at the junction of Swift Creek and Granite Creek.
Swift Creek Meadow