Wheat’s Meadow is nestled in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness in the Stanislaus National Forest. It’s a moderate level, six mile in and out hike and is easily done in one afternoon. The maximum elevation is 6,640′ and the minimum is 6,257′ with a total elevation gain of around 1,600′. The highlights of this hike are the magnificent views of The Dardanelles and the various aspen groves enconuntered along the hike and surrounding the meadow. Wheat’s Meadow is a common stopping point for backpackers heading to or from Spicer Reservoir, Sword Lake or various other locations since a four-way intersection of several popular trails sits right in the middle of the meadow. There isn’t much information about the history of Wheat’s Meadow but I belive it was once a working cattle ranch due to the remnants of an old cabin and out building and a concrete well, however, the meadow is still used today as grazing land for cattle. The hike to Wheat’s Meadow is best done in late spring when the streams are flowing and wildflowers are abundant or in the fall when the aspens are glowing. Since the elevation here is only around 6,500 feet the aspens won’t start changing colors till about the first week in October.
If you want a little more adventure a side trip can be taken to Burgson Lake about a mile from the main trail. The trail to Burgson Lake isn’t officially marked but is accessed about 2.25 miles in from the trailhead (3/4 miles from Wheat’s Meadow) and is marked with cairns placed by other hikers.
To reach the trailhead to Wheat’s Meadow drive 25 miles on hwy 108 past Pinecrest and turn left on to Clark Fork Rd (FR 7N83). After the second bridge turn left on to Fence Creek Rd (FR 6N06) and drive four miles to the trailhead. Parking is on the right and the signed trailhead is on the left. This road is dirt most of the way with pot holes and protruding rocks but is traversable by most 2wd vehicles with some caution.
Since this is a designated wilderness, a forest service permit is required for overnight camping but for day use a permit is not required. Permits can be obtained from the Summit Ranger District in Pinecrest (209) 965-3434.