Hockett Trail Notes: Devils Ladder and Coyote Pass

Taking a moment to process some minutia of Hockett Trail history …

This early account of the rerouting of a short segment of the Hockett Trail appears to corroborate my understanding that the Hockett Trail followed the same route that Horseshoe Meadows Road follows today, only with shorter switchbacks:

From Round Valley down to where it leaves the Little Cottonwood the old Hockett Trail is almost untraveled. The shorter route now in use leaves the valley at the lower end, drops over the Big Cottonwood, descends this past an old sawmill, and crosses to the Little Cottonwood, which it reaches about fifty yards below where it rejoins the old trail, at the foot of the Devil’s Ladder.

E. B. C., Sierra Club Bulletin, Vol. III., No. 2, May 1900

For anyone who’s driven Horseshoe Meadows Road, names like “Devil’s Ladder” should come as no surprise. I’m guessing that this Devil’s Ladder is the name that was given to the eastbound ascent out of the Cottonwood Creek watershed to what is now called “Walt’s Point”, atop the grand descent down “Hockett Hill.”

The following demonstrates that, contrary to what appears to be a common understanding, the Hockett Trail did not cross the Great Western Divide at Coyote Pass:

Another trail in recent use is between Mineral King and the Big Kern, via Coyote (or Quinn’s ) Pass. I think they are the same. From the east it starts at the soda spring and keeps north of Coyote Creek up to the meadows. From the west it leaves the Hockett Trail, perhaps two miles south of Farewell Gap, and is indicated by a signboard—”Poison Meadow Trail.” According to the signs, the “Hockett Trail” leads to Mineral King, and the trail to Hockett Meadows is the “Hockett Meadow Trail.”

E. B. C., Sierra Club Bulletin, Vol. III., No. 2, May 1900