Although all but the first 1/2 mile is now closed to vehicles, this was part of the original road to Giant Forest. It was constructed almost entirely by hand by members of the Kaweah Colony, a community of radical socialists who hoped to cut timber in the Giant Forest area in the mid 1880s. It begins at the end of the North Fork Road that leads along the North Fork Kaweah River from Three Rivers. A short spur road to the right is the beginning of Colony Mill Trail. Park your car at the end of this spur road.
Begin by hiking eastward along the abandoned road. The trail begins at a low elevation and climbs slowly as you walk eastward. It follows the southern shore of Yucca Creek, but moves further away from the creek as it climbs toward Crystal Cave Road. Approximately two miles from the trailhead Colony Mill Trail crosses Maple Creek, which drains into Yucca Creek. The elevation at this point is 3,250 feet.
The trail winds through the Yucca Creek drainage and climbs toward another stream crossing. Two miles from Maple Creek the trail reaches the second stream crossing. The elevation at this point is 3,950 feet. Beyond this unnamed stream crossing the trail climbs to Ash Peaks Ridge. It skirts the northern flank of a 5,000 foot peak then summits the ridge and turns northward at Panorama Point.
From this point on the ridge the trail continues to gain elevation steadily and slowly. One mile north the trail reaches Admiration Point then crosses the ridge, passing the Colony Mill site, and turning toward the east. It continues eastward for a half mile, then turns northward again and follows the ridge at 5,800 feet. After a half mile the trail begins to descend into the Marble Fork Kaweah River valley. The trail ends at Crystal Cave Road, 5,350 feet.
Directions: From Three Rivers, Travel north on North Fork Road to a spur road on the right shortly before the road end. Follow this spur road eastward a half mile to the trailhead.
Elevation: 2,200 feet
Ending Elevation: 5,350 feet
Elevation Gain: 2,150 feet
Distance: 9 miles
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