Monday, February 22, 2010

02-20-2010 Agua Blanca Creek

This week we wanted to get out and see something new. If you look at the Dough Flat area on the topographic map from the USGS (Devil's Heart Peak Quad) there have a bunch of waterfalls listed. We decided that with the recent rains that this would be a good time to go and look for some of those waterfalls. We found out that the drive from the bottom of Goodenough Road to the Dough Flat trailhead is about half an hour long (just thirteen to the Tar Creek trailhead). There was a nice fifteen foot waterfall just before we got to Dough Flat.

It had been raining just a few hours before we arrived, but the ground wasn't unreasonably muddy. There is a little makeshift creekside camp just before Squaw Flat. We went off the main trail and followed a hunters trail east toward some of those waterfalls. The falls weren't that notable, but while we back there we found a toppled over oil drilling rig that has been long abandoned.

One thing I learned after this hike is that the term "squaw" is considered by some native american groups to be derogitory:

After that diversion we got back on the main trail and made our way towards Bucksnort Spring. This is a pretty cool little spot. There is a small fire pit that had not been used in ages. And Bucksnort was flowing. We took a little time to try and get to the springhead but gave up after a few minutes.

We then started towards our next destination, Ant Camp. Ant Camp is located right where Agua Blanca Creek starts turning east toward Lake Piru and about six miles from the Dough Flat trailhead. The hike there from Bucksnort is pretty straightforward. It's just when the trail starts to descend towards Agua Blanca you realize that it's going be long hike back up.

Ant Camp was a pleasant surprise. It's nestled underneath an big old oak tree in a large valley with other smaller oaks. There's fire pit, picnic table, bbq grill, a couple of ancient bed frames, and even some horse-shoes and pins should you feel like playing a game.

While we sitting there catching our breath a bi-plane came racing up the creek from the east, looped around us a few hundred feet up and then went racing back down towards Piru. It was about 11:30 at this point and our last goal (besides getting out in one piece) was to find Saddle Skirt camp. According to the map it's supposed to be about a mile up Agua Blanca Creek from Ant Camp. The first thing I noticed about Agua Blanca is that the rocks start to change from sandstone to granite. Granite is much slicker then sandstone when it's wet so you really have to watch you footing. There are bits of trail going up-creek, but for the most part it's very much overgrown. As for Saddle Skirt camp, well we couldn't find it. When we got to the spot where it was shown the map there was nothing but a weird hole in the ground. We went searching even further up-creek to where Franks GPS indicated the camp was, but had no luck there either. It was 1:00pm at that point, which meant it was time to turn around a head back to the Jeep. We stopped briefly at Ant camp one more time to refill our water bottles and change our socks then we marched up and out of there. Four hours later we were back at the trailhead. The hike was about thirteen miles round trip.

One after thought here, if you are thinking about doing this hike I would suggest trekking poles. I forgot mine and really wish I had brought them. Take care.


  1. You state that "Ant Camp is located right where Agua Blanca Creek starts turning west toward Lake Piru" and that you saw a plane "racing up the creek [Agua Blanca] from the west". Actually, the Agua Blanca runs east to Lake Piru and Ant Camp is up the creek and west of Lake Piru. Regardless, it sounds like it was a good hike.

  2. You're right, I got my directions mixed up. I'll correct it, thanks.

  3. Have you ever gone up Agua Blanca from Blue Point? I have considered ABlanca to Devil's Potrero but hear horror stories of poison oak forests. D Stillman

  4. see trip report here: