Dick's San Joaquin Gorge Pictures

          

The first section of this photo album consists of photos of the signs and plants that appear along the Nature Trail at the San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area (formerly known as Squaw Leap). The trail starts at the back of the equestrian camp, and is probably not more than a half mile long. It goes up, across and down a narrow ravine, and is well worth a visit. Note that not all plant photos were taken at the Gorge, since some of them were not "photogenic" when I was there. These photos are indicated by (N) for "Not taken at the Gorge." A few others were taken at the Gorge, but not along the Nature Trail.

Other photos here are from other parts of this fascinating area, a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) administered property. There are camping areas, trails open to hiking, bikes and horseback riding, and of course, the San Joaquin River down in the bottom of the gorge. Elevation ranges from about 700 feet at the river to 2,300 feet on the table top mountains on the north side of the river.

    
Nature Trail     Other Locations     Slide Show     Related Links     Other Photo Links
  
New photos added here May 5 and here May 16, 2017 (captions in red)
   
Click photo for a larger view (pictures open in a new window)
 
On the Nature Trail
Walk this way A unique trail entrance Start of the trail
Walk this way A unique trail entrance Start of the trail
   
Manzanita The leaves are bluer than blue oak The leaves are bluer than blue oak
Manzanita My favorite foothill shrub The leaves are bluer than blue oak
  
Poison oak Shiny young poinson oak leaves New spring leaves
Poison Oak Shiny young poinson oak leaves New spring leaves
   
Live Oak Probably the most common tree in the Sierra foothills Live Oak trunks
Live Oak Probably the most common tree in the Sierra foothills Live Oak trunks
  
Deer Grass Deer grass with carpenteria in the background A closer look
Deer Grass Deer grass with carpenteria in the background A closer look
   
Redbud Redbud in bloom Redbud seed pods
Redbud Redbud in bloom Redbud seed pods
   
Close-up of pods Buck Brush Close up of new leaves
Close-up of pods Buck Brush Close up of new leaves
   
Buck brush in bloom Typical buck brush thicket (we always called it chaparral) Dead buck brush is also scenic
Buck brush in bloom Typical buck brush thicket (we always called it chaparral) Dead buck brush is also scenic
  
Carpenteria A rare plant, according to the sign Close-up of leaves
Carpenteria A rare plant, according to the sign Close-up of leaves
     
Carpenteria seed pods Spectacular Carpenteria blossoms are about two inches across Wild Grape
Carpenteria seed pods Spectacular Carpenteria blossoms are about two inches across Wild Grape
   
The sign says they grow to 30 feet in length, but I can show you one that's close to 100 feet A thick grape stem along the trail Grape vine tendril and stems
The sign says they grow to 30 feet in length, but I can show you one that's close to 100 feet A thick grape stem along the trail Grape vine tendril and stems
  
Blue Oak A nicely sculpted blue oak Blue oaks on the Pa'San Ridge trail
Blue Oak A nicely sculpted blue oak Blue oaks on the Pa'San Ridge trail
    
Five-trunk blue oak on the Ridge Trail Buckeye Buckeye is easily recognized in the winter by the white trunks
Five-trunk blue oak on the Ridge Trail Buckeye Buckeye is easily recognized in the winter by the white trunks
     
New buckeye seedling Buckeye seeds sprout on the ground Spiky white flowers eventually turn into these big seeds (N)
New buckeye seedling Buckeye seeds sprout on the ground Spiky white flowers eventually turn into these big seeds (N)
      
Buckeye tree with blossoms just getting started Close-up of buckeye blossoms Buckeye in full bloom

Buckeye tree with blossoms just getting started

Close-up of buckeye blossoms Buckeye in full bloom
     
A closer look Gray Pine In the foothill area where I grew up, no one called them anything but bull pines
A closer look (N) Gray Pine In the foothill area where I grew up, no one called them anything but bull pines
    
This one really looks gray A very nice close up of the needles (N) Miner's Lettuce
This one really looks gray A very nice close up of the needles (N) Miner's Lettuce
     
This annual plant puts up flower stalk through the middle of its round leaves Miner's lettuce after seed formation White Sage; Wildlife Guzzler
This annual plant puts up a flower stalk through the middle of its round leaves Miner's lettuce after seed formation White Sage; Wildlife Guzzler
 
Mmmm, spicy! The guzzler still has water, six weeks or more after the last rain

Dried sage stems reach high above new growth

Mmmm, spicy! The guzzler still has water, six weeks or more after the last rain
   
Elsewhere in the Gorge
  
The road into the gorge is visible in the background of this photo View of the bridge and river from Kennedy Table Kennedy Table
The road into the gorge is visible in the background of this photo View of the bridge and river from Kennedy Table Kennedy Table
  
A shady glen in the upper part of the north side Burl on blue oak Blue oak on the hillside

A shady glen in the upper part of the north side

Burl on blue oak Blue oak on the hillside
 
Grab the knob to move this boulder out of your way Sierra snow from San Joaquin Gorge Split rock on the Madera side

Grab the knob to move this boulder out of your way

Sierra snow from San Joaquin Gorge Split rock on the Madera side
  
X marks the spot on this rock near the bridge Kennedy Table, on the north side of the San Joaquin Gorge Another view of Kennedy Table
X marks the spot on this rock near the bridge Kennedy Table, on the north side of the San Joaquin Gorge Another view of Kennedy Table
 
The San Joaquin River Trail, heading southwest from the trailhead Big Table Mountain seen from San Joaquin Gorge Bull pines (AKA gray or digger pines)
The San Joaquin River Trail, heading southwest from the trailhead Big Table Mountain seen from San Joaquin Gorge Bull pines (AKA gray or digger pines)
  

San Joaquin Trail, near the trailhead parking lot

San Joaquin River from the road into the gorge Dick by the big manzanita near our favorite camping spot

San Joaquin Trail, near the trailhead parking lot

San Joaquin River from the road into the gorge

Dick by the big manzanita near our favorite camping spot
  
On the bridge, about 1982 Shooting stars Baby blue eyes
On the bridge, about 1982 Shooting stars Baby blue eyes
 
Lupines Thistles in bloom

Harvest brodeia

Lupines Thistles in bloom Goldenstar (AKA Harvest) brodiaea
  
Owl Clover Bush lupine Sunlight through new blue oak trees
Owl Clover Bush lupine Sunlight through blue oak trees
  
Janell takes a break beside the South Trail Big burl on blue oak Woodpecker larder tree

Janell takes a break beside the San Joaquin River Trail

Big burl on blue oak Woodpecker larder tree
  
This oak continues to grow, despite a long-ago break This oak continues to grow, despite a long-ago break New shoots on buckeye tree
This oak continues to grow, despite a long-ago break New shoots on buckeye tree
   
A study in shades of green A collection of oak apples Remains of a manzanita killed in the 1981 fire
A study in shades of green

A collection of oak apples in the hollow of a blue oak

Remains of a manzanita killed in the 1982 fire

   
Foot bridge across San Joaquin River Taken while standing on the bridge The bridge from the trail above on the south side
Foot bridge across San Joaquin River Taken while standing on the bridge

The bridge from the trail above on the south side

       
   Dick on top of Kennedy Table in 2000 Squaw Leap Plaque in honor of Ted Anderson, early promoter of Squaw Leap preservation
   Dick on top of Kennedy Table in 2000 Squaw Leap Plaque in honor of Ted Anderson, early promoter of Squaw Leap preservation
        
Bedrock mortars near visitor center A typical scene in the gorge A lone popcorn flower
Bedrock mortars near visitor center A typical scene in the gorge A lone popcorn flower
         
Remnants of an old dam The spillway Squaw leap under cloudy skies
Remnants of an old dam The spillway Squaw leap under cloudy skies
        
Pines and rocks Contemplating a huge burl on a blue oak Monster tree (or just a dead blue oak)
Pines and rocks Contemplating a huge burl on a blue oak Monster tree (or just a dead blue oak)
       
Typical foothill game trail Scattered bones of a dead tree Handy sticks used to tighten wire
Typical foothill game trail Scattered bones of a dead tree Handy sticks used to tighten wire
      
Nature provides some fence posts...  ...and pretty much ignores barbed wire The San Joaquin River gorge
Nature provides some fence posts... ...and pretty much ignores barbed wire The San Joaquin River gorge
   
Panoramic view of the area, taken from the top of Squaw Leap table

Panoramic view of the area, taken from the top of Squaw Leap table. Click here for a version with locations identified; click here for a very large version

  
Mustang clover Bedrock mortars on the San Joaquin traill Bug Table
Mustang clover

Bedrock mortars on the San Joaquin trail

Bug Table, north of the river
     
The trail, just past where it starts Common madia Mostly Madia
The trail, just past where it starts Common madia Mostly common madia
    
Bridge from the southeast corner The San Joaquin River, much too low for late spring A horizontal bull pine
Bridge from the southeast corner

The San Joaquin River, much too low for late spring

A horizontal bull pine
     
It means "place where there are blue oaks" Recent rains have washed soil from the trail into the grass A very small bridge

It means "place where there are blue oaks"

Recent rains have washed soil from the trail into the grass A very small bridge
     
A promising sign - green grass in November Lichen adds a nice contrasting color amid the green The greenest green belongs to the moss

A promising sign - green grass in November 2015

Lichen adds a nice contrasting color amid the green

The greenest green belongs to the moss

     
A close low angle view of Squaw Leap There's a bumper crop of pine cones this year Sun sparkles on the wires
A close low angle view of Squaw Leap

There's a bumper crop of pine cones in the fall of 2015

Sun sparkles on the wires
    
Moss and time are reclaiming this tree trunk below the trail Dried seed pod of wild cucumber Leftover timbers from trial maintenance project in 2014

Moss and time are reclaiming this tree branch below the trail

Dried seed pod of wild cucumber Leftover timbers from trial maintenance project in 2014
     
Germinating buckeye seed The hillside and trail on the north side from the road Blue oaks, green grass, and mis against the hills on a rainy day
Germinating buckeye seed The hillside and trail on the north side from the road

Blue oaks, green grass, and mist against the hills on a rainy day 

   
A tranquil scene along the San Joaquin River Trail Natural planter box 2016 - the greenest spring in years

A tranquil scene along the San Joaquin River Trail

Natural planter box 2016 - the greenest spring in years
   
Three beautiful but unknown flowers 1 Three beautiful but unknown flowers 2 Three beautiful but unknown flowers 3
Two beautiful but unknown flowers seen on a hike in April 2016 Elegant Clarkia
      
Farewell to Spring Can you see who's hiding in the grass? These flowers appeared in a large mass, but in only one place
Farewell to Spring

Can you see who's hiding in the grass?

Goldfields were seen in a thick patch, in just one spot
   
These look almost the same as Fringed Redmaids but not quite This is a white variety of brodiaea Farewell to spring, thick along the San Joaquin River Trail
These look almost the same as Fringed Redmaids but not quite  This is a white variety of brodiaea Farewell to spring, thick along the San Joaquin River Trail
      
Two more view of the table top mountain known as Squaw Leap 1 Two more view of the table top mountain known as Squaw Leap 2 Squaw Leap from SJ River Trail
Three more views of the table top mountain known as Squaw Leap
   
Red-brown seeds of the dock plant 2016 was a good year for acorns Moms and kids keep a watchful eye on hikers
Red-brown seeds of the dock plant 2016 was a good year for acorns

Moms and kids keep a watchful eye on hikers

   
Bright red "oak apples" in a blue oak Succulent in the moss near the bridge Bedrock mortars by Buzzard Road
Bright red "oak apples" in a blue oak Succulent in the moss near the bridge Bedrock mortars by Buzzard Road
  
Sculpted decomposing granite along the San Joaquin River Trail Dried wild cucumber seed pods Mountain and clouds to the west from the San Joaquin River Trail
Sculpted decomposing granite along the San Joaquin River Trail Dried wild cucumber seed pods

Mountain and clouds to the west from the San Joaquin River Trail

   
Fog accents the leafless blue oaks in the upper part of the gorge   This little creek tumbles down the steep slopes along the road This creek cascades down the north side of the river canyon
Fog accents the leafless blue oaks in the upper part of the gorge This little creek tumbles down the steep slopes along the road This creek cascades down the north side of the river canyon
   
Flow of recent runoff is clearly seen in this grassy drainage A delightful waterfall near the bottom of the River Access Trail Cattle guard at the approach to the parking lot
Flow of recent runoff is clearly seen in this grassy drainage A delightful waterfall near the bottom of the River Access Trail Cattle guard at the approach to the parking lot
   
The San Joaquin is a rushing white water river this year The Group Camp area The "new" power plant, built around 1980
The San Joaquin is a rushing white water river this year The Group Camp area The "new" power plant, built around 1980
   
Water tank above the new power house One of many creeks that flowed in the spring of 2017 Slide along road into area
Water tank above the new power house One of many creeks that flowed in the spring of 2017 Slide along road into area
Magic Sand Box at the Visitor Center Frog pond near Equestrian Camp Stump jumping near the visitor center
Magic Sand Box at the Visitor Center Frog pond near Equestrian Camp Stump jumping near the visitor center
   
A big run at the Gorge required overflow parking on the grass Two creeks come together near the overflow parking lot  A big pine across the Ridge Trail had not yet been cleared in March 2017
A big run at the Gorge required overflow parking on the grass Two creeks come together near the overflow parking lot A big pine across the Ridge Trail had not yet been cleared in March 2017
  
Poppies with Kennedy Table in the background

Redbud across the San Joaquin River canyon

This dead snag should be called "The Sentinel"

     
The biggest little creek by the trail The view near the trailhead

The biggest little creek along the bridge trail

This spot has a dozen or more bush lupines

The view near the trailhead
       

This natural bouquet includes madia, mustang clover and harvest brodiaea

Yellow flowers mixed in with mustang clover

The sign where you turn off from Power House Road to Smalley Road

   
The rare yellow variety of Mariposa lily King of the late season flowers, farewell-to-spring Dry grass gone to seed in May 2017
  
Squaw Leap table top from the San Joaquin River Trail The other side of Squaw Leap from Prather
    
Related Links
Squaw Leap San Joaquin River Gorge Special Recreation Management Area San Joaquin River Trail
San Joaquin Gorge Slide Show More flowers Sierra Foothills - Winter 2013
Sierra Foothills - Spring 2013 Background & History of San Joaquin Gorge Area Backpacking Trips
(Squaw Leap and Elsewhere)
All my reports on hiking and camping at San Joaquin Gorge (Squaw Leap)
     

All photos copyright 2002-2017 by Dick Estel. Permission granted for personal use only; commercial use prohibited.

    

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Updated July 17, 2017