206 - Thompson Creek Trail
Trail 206 snakes through a variety of terrain and ends near one of the
Wilderness' better natural attractions, rock formation Eye of the Needle.
Wildflowers adorn the creek-side portions of the trail during the spring.
The low-lying sections along
Thompson Creek and adjoining Whiteoak Hollow are popular camping areas.
The trail starts from the north at the
Thompson Trailhead. When
facing the trailhead display, the path is to your right and follows Thompson
After a gradual initial descent of about half a mile you come to a stream at
Whiteoak Hollow. There appears to be a trail along the hollow
but it only runs for about a
quarter mile. You want to cross the stream and continue on 206. If the
water is too deep, you might want to look up the holler for a shallower spot.
The trail then rises through forest and a canyon before taking you down to
where Thompson Creek joins Hubbard Creek to form the Sipsey Fork. You can
stand in the headwaters of the Sipsey if that has any attraction.
Trail 206 then turns towards the river, crosses it, and continues up and
around a somewhat steep hill to the ridge. This section to the west of the
river features some lovely views of hemlock forest. The trail turns southward
again and ends at a junction with trails 201 - Rippey and
209 - Sipsey River.
Note that you may find some old
trail marker posts on the western side that label the route as trail 201. The
Forest Service changed their mind several years ago as to what constitutes
201 and what is 206 and some of the old signs are still around.
You may be wondering why the trail bothers to cross the river at all.
After all, there is a well-worn path on the east side to where it meets 209
again. Well, this
section of the Wilderness is actually private land. It is owned by the
Rippey family and there is a cabin up on the ridge. It is perfectly okay for
hikers to walk this section along the river but itís another thing for the
Forest Service to route an official trail there. So trails 206 and 209 have
these little diversions to the west side of the Sipsey.
Eye of the Needle is a rock formation where two large boulders at the top of a
bluff lean against each other with a man-sized gap in between. It is located
off the trail, up the bluff, about a quarter mile past where 206 turns to
cross the river.
Trail 206 is one of the better camping trails. Water and firewood are easily
obtained. A very popular area is in the vicinity of Whiteoak Hollow. In fact,
there is a rather large campsite some hundred yards up the hollow. Excellent
campsites are also found at the southern end, on both sides of Eye of the