usbackroads destination--Eastman Lake, COE, Madera, Calfornia
This is a usbackroads destination only in the winter. Similar to Black Butte Lake, but located much farther south in the foothills of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. In fact, it is just above the floor of the Central Valley so we are not sure if it is above the infamous valley fog. However, it is a pretty place just as attractive as Black Butte Lake with the same day use sites, campgrounds, trails, and boat launch.
Coming from Madera the COE has signed the day use site with a left directional arrow. The campgrounds and overnight areas continue straight ahead. The signing on this COE site could be improved. The campgrounds are east of the signed day use site.
Here is a picture of the typical campsite.
As noted on the bulletin board Eastman Lake is a quality bass lake with one fish over 22 inches allowed. The lake is a clear lake and very fishy looking. It was only that $100 plus California non-resident fishing license that stopped me from fishing.
Like Black Butte Eastman Lake has lots of hiking, mountain biking, and horse trails. This is a picture of the hiking trail.
Eastman Lake has plenty of wildlife. Though we were there at 1:00pm we saw a coyote loping along the ridgeline just south of the trailhead. At the trailhead, we noticed the posting for keeping an eye out for the "resident" mountain lion. And less than a 1/4 mile down the trail we heard a loud noise in the draw. Suddenly, three pig sows complete with litters burst out of the draw and up the hillside. Now, Bugaboo took one look at the 300 pound pigs and just watched from the trail. Snowpatch on the other hand, had them on the run! All ten pounds of him raced up the hillside trailing the sows and their 20 pound piglets.
An English vet study on the death of dogs listed cancer and heart disease as the leading causes of death in large dogs. For small dogs it was trauma. As we watched him race up the hillside, we realized that he just might end up in that statistical category at under one year of age. Fortunately, he turned around before the pigs realized just how small he really was!! A dog trapped in a lapdogs body.
The sun shelters above the day use site on the lake. It probably does get hot here in the summer!