- Following the Elk Meadows South Trail north, the trail passes a wilderness entry sign and crosses a footbridge leading over Clark Creek. The trail then crosses Clark, Kate and Warren Creeks. At the one mile point, come to a junction with the Newton Creek Trail #646. Continue straight ahead and use caution crossing Newton Creek on logs and rocks. Climb a series of switchbacks to a saddle in the ridge and a four-way trail junction. To the left (west), the Gnarl Ridge Trail #652 climbs to the Timberline trail. To the right (east), the Bluegrass Ridge trail climbs to Elk Mountain before continuing north along the ridge and rejoining the Elk Meadows trail about 2.5 miles from its northern terminus.
Continuing straight ahead brings you to the southern edge of the meadows. From here the trail circles the meadow. The trail then travels to the right, passing the Bluegrass Ridge Tie Trail #647B (short but steep), and coming to a junction with the perimeter trail at the meadow's northern edge. If a car shuttle has been arranged, you may continue down Cold Spring Creek, approximately 6.5 miles to the Polallie trailhead parking on Highway 35. For the energetic who don't mind climbing an additional 1,600' in 2.5 miles, a trip to Lamberson Butte will provide a rewarding view. Follow the Gnarl Ridge trail of Gnarled Ridge Tie Trail #652A to the Timberline Trail #600. Turn right (north) and continue through the woods and grassy areas. After passing the remains of a stone shelter, you will arrive at an area of bushy, gnarled White Bark Pine. This makes a good stopping point or you can continue to the left to complete the climb to the top of the butte.
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