Silver Moccasin Trail

Rotted Tree on the Silver Moccasin Trail

Rotted Tree on the Silver Moccasin Trail

The Silver Moccasin Trail begins at Chantry and ends at Vincent Gap. Comprised of a series of somewhat distinct trail segments, parts of which are shared by other trails, most of which used to be Native American trails, it’s 53 miles long, and there’s a Boyscout Patch named after it.

It begins at Chantry and heads up to the West Fork Camp Ground on a segment shared by the Gabrielino Trail. From West Fork it runs up to Shortcut Saddle, a 3 mile segment run in the reverse direction as part of the Mount Disappointment 50K course.

It crosses the Angeles Crest Highway at Shortcut saddle, and then heads down and back up again, to Charlton Flats. It was on the descent from Shortcut headed towards Charlton Flats that this picture was taken.

From Charlton Flats, the Silver Moccasin Trail continues to Chilao. Signficant chunks of this section were badly damaged during the 2009 Station Fire, and it’s seriously overgrown with Poodle Dog Bush. In 2012 it was impassable from the time spring hit until a week or so before the race, when the Poodle Dog Bush was cleared by a teams as part of trail work required from all AC100 runners. In 2010 and 2011 the race was rerouted slightly in this area to bypass parts of the trail that remained closed from the fire.

From Chilao it continues on about 2 miles to Horse Flats, and another 3 miles to 3 Points, where it links up with the Pacific Crest Trail and follows it to the Silver Moccasin’s end, at Vincent Gap.

From 3 Points to Vincent Gap are 4 segments totaling 29 miles that go through Cloudburst Summit, Islip Saddle, up and over Baden Powell (via Throop Peak, Mount Hawkins & Mount Burnham), and down to Vincent Gap. The stretch between Vincent Gap and Islip Saddle is the elevation section, starting at 7,000 feet and climbing rapidly to 9,400.

The Angeles Crest 100 mile Endurance run (AC100) runs most of the Silver Moccasin Trail, but in reverse, with Vincent’s Gap coming at mile 13, Islip Saddle at mile 26, Cloudburst at mile 38, 3 Points at mile 43, Chilao mile 53, Shortcut mile 59, and Chantry mile 74. AC100 departs from the Silver Moccasin for two stretches. At 3Pts, the race continues along the PCT for 4 miles before connecting with an old paved road that heads up to Mt. Hillyer, and then down through boulders on the Mt. Hillyer Trail until it reconnects with the Silver Moccasin at Horse Flats. It departs a second time at Shortcut, with the race heading down and back up the Edison Fire Road to Newcombe’s Pass, and where it links up with the Gabrielino Trail and rejoins the Silver Moccasin for the last 6 miles into Chantry.

I ran the stretch from Shortcut to Charlton Flats and back this past weekend. The trail was blocked in several spots by downed trees. There was still a little snow on the ground, despite it being in the 60s. From Charlton Flats I ran a loop along Silver Moccasin and along road, and then departed from the course to head up Mt. Vetter, where there is an old fire lookout that burned down during the 2009 Station Fires. On the way back down, I took a good fall. First blood of 2013.

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