Camp Nelson Fire-Break


Season: All year around
Distance: 3 miles, round trip
Elevation: 5,000 feet
Difficulty: Easy – 2-3 hours
Drinking water: Nelson Creek

This trail is an all-year trail, although at times you may need “moon boots” to get through the snow. It follows the fuel-break which surrounds Camp Nelson proper and extends from Highway 190 all the way down to the river. However, I like the central portion of the trail because it has easier access from Camp Nelson.

Walk to the north end of Sutherland Drive and onto the trail which starts just past “Lot 1, Tract 1”. the trail goes down slope and into a cedar thicket, the trees of which don’t seem to have grown an inch since I walked through there as a kid, over fifty years ago. You may cross a running seep in the springtime. If so, watch you step. It’s quick sand!

Before you get to the small creek, turn left up ridge. follow this trail on up to the cleared fuel-break and continue on to the east (your right). You wander through a lot of bear clover and pass the cabins at the top of the “Loop” but they are unobtrusive, as are all the cabins you pass.

Soon you’ll be jumping across Nelson Creek and on up around the cabins at the top of Grandview. Next you pass the end of Trails End Drive and cross the dirt service road to Camp Nelson’s water company. From here the trail circles around Cloverleaf through an open stand of beautiful ponderosas, before you slide down into a gully which debouches at Nelson Drive. If you turn left, cross the road and take the trail on up to Belknap Campground. If you go straight across you’ll end up, difficultly, at the river. A right turn will take you down past Soda Spring, which if you follow that trail will also take you down to the river at Tom Ferguson Drive. This will take you back past Oak Knoll to the foot of Poop-a-low hill (which was so named because Model T’s would poop out in low gear and have to back their way up – reverse was a more powerful gear in those days – and it was steeper then).