The Buckeye Trail into the Hoover Wilderness generally follows Buckeye Creek up the canyon, although the creek itself is not usually visible from the trail, which begins as an easy stroll along a sandy road. Climbing very gradually through Jeffrey pine forest , the hiker can appreciate the intense blue of the sky above the ridge tops. The sign marking the Eagle Creek Trail is not far from the trailhead. Eventually the road narrows into a trail that skirts a little meadow full of cattle, and one begins to see alder trees mixed in with the pine trees and an occasional fir tree.
In early September there is evidence of many previously bloomed wildflowers (lots of wild iris in the meadows) but now only an occasional Indian paintbrush, scarlet gilia, yarrow, lupine and Sierra gentian higher up, and a form of erigeron - "showy daisies." Earlier in the season the wildflowers are outstanding, with plenty of water in the area. Later in the fall will also be spectacular - as the trail climbs, there are increasing numbers of aspen trees whose leaves will turn to gold in autumn. Soon there is a fork in the trail; take the right fork into the Big Meadow area, a series of clearings and meadows with a view of the granite peaks further up the canyon. The sign marking "Buckeye Trail" indicates the boundary of the proposed addition to the Hoover Wilderness Area. The trail crosses three very small creeks as it climbs a bit then drops down to a wash. Traverse this wash to the trail opposite; otherwise it is easy to lose the trail here. In September Buckeye Creek is shallow enough for wading, but could be a difficult crossing earlier when the creek is higher.
The trail now crosses the last of the meadows. There are more groves of big healthy aspen and views of the narrowing canyon ahead and granite peaks. Climbing along the west side of the canyon the trail reveals the repair work of two major washouts from the previous spring, where huge amounts of rock, dirt, and water thundered down the mountainside. Through a patch of elderberries, the Roughs and the actual Wilderness Boundary lie ahead.
Directions from Bridgeport: Follow U.S. Highway 395 to the sign for Twin Lakes; follow Twin Lakes Road to Doc & Al's Resort. Turn right at the Resort, follow the signs for Buckeye Campground till you get to the campground, then follow the road past the campground to the Trailhead, park and hike! Buckeye Trailhead is located just west of Buckeye Campground at an elevation of 7000 feet.
Spring through Fall
(NOTE: Creek crossings may be high in the Spring)