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Pinedale Online > News > June 2005 > Elk, elk and more elk at Scab Creek!

Elk in the sagebrush. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Elk in the sagebrush

Elk in green meadow. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Elk in green meadow

Elk at Scab Creek. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Elk at Scab Creek

Elk resting next to road. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Elk resting next to road
This elk was resting along side the main road going into Scab Creek.

Scab Creek Campground. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Scab Creek Campground
Elk, elk and more elk at Scab Creek!
Road, campground and trailhead are all open
by Dawn Ballou
June 12, 2005

We scoped out conditions at Scab Creek campground and trailhead access on Saturday, June 11th. The road in, trailhead and campground are all dry and accessible.

The most remarkable thing about the Scab Creek area right now is that there are still elk all over! We saw about 30 elk in various green valleys, lounging along the main road driving in and in the aspen groves along the way. There is elk sign all over the campground.

There is an elk feedground right next to the Scab Creek Campground, but they only feed the elk during the harshest months of the winter when natural feed isnít available. The feeding ended a couple of months ago, but there are still a lot of elk hanging around and enjoying the lush green grass in the drainage swales and valley bottoms. They will be dispersing and moving up to the high country soon. Now is a great time to get good close-up pictures of a lot of elk right from the road, something that is usually very hard to do unless you go up to Yellowstone Park.

Scab Creek is about 30 miles south of Pinedale. Take Hwy 191 south and turn onto Hwy 353 at the small town of Boulder. Travel a couple of miles on the paved highway and then turn east onto Scab Creek Road, just past the Air Force Seismic Research Station facility.

Trails are free of snow up to about 9,500 feet. Above that, hikers will encounter snow consistently depending on aspect and location. The leaves are just coming on the aspen trees here and there is lots of green grass and wildflowers.

We didn't see any campers at Scab Creek campground or vehicles in the trailhead parking area. Scab Creek campground is a BLM recreational facility, so itís not right next to a mountain lake or stream, but it is scenic in its own way. Note that there is NO DRINKING WATER at this campground or at the trailhead. The BLM has plans to do major renovation here this summer, rearranging the access points for the trailhead and backpacker staging areas and modifying the layout of the campground. Bring your own drinking water for extended stays. The BLM hopes to make another attempt at drilling a well here for drinking water, but once you see the huge rocks strewn about, you'll understand the difficulty in drilling a well here for drinking water. It is a 2-mile hike to fishing.

From a geological standpoint, the Scab Creek area has unique rock formations and evidence of ancient glacial activity. Rock chucks (marmots) live among the boulders and are fascinating to listen to and watch. The whole area is just fun to explore.

Antelope and deer are also easily seen in the Scab Creek area now. We even saw one antelope that was wearing a radio collar. This must be one of the animals being tracked for one of the ongoing wildlife movement studies for antelope.

Antelope, deer and elk all have been calving these past few weeks and there are newborn wildlife babies everywhere. While the animals are over the winter stress now that food is plentiful, they are still wary and very protective of their helpless young.

Please keep a good distance away from wildlife if you are in the area, especially on ATVs. Keep dogs under control and donít let them jump out of the back of the truck and chase wildlife. Itís best to observe wildlife from a distance and use a telephoto lens on your camera to get those great close-up shots so as not to cause undue disturbance to newborns or protective Moms. These animals will often let you watch for quite awhile and get great photos as long as you stay in your vehicle and are quiet, but as soon as you open the door to get out, they bolt. If you get too close, animals may feel threatened and charge, so keep your distance.

Photos by Clint Gilchrist and Dawn Ballou

Cow elk. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Cow elk
The elk are a beautiful dark brown color.

Relaxing Elk. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Relaxing Elk

Elk and deer together. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Elk and deer together
A cow elk and deer graze together in a small aspen grove meadow near Scab Creek campground.

Green meadow elk. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Green meadow elk
An elk grazes in a green meadow oasis in the rolling sagebrush hills. Spring rains have made the hills come alive with green grass and wildflowers.

Deer in the trees. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Deer in the trees
This is how deer are often seen, looking out from the trees.

Scruffy Deer. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Scruffy Deer
These deer are losing their winter coats and look rather scruffy. The deer on the left was limping.

Marmot. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Marmots, or rock chucks, live in the rocky terrain around the Scab Creek campground. Sentinals can be seen perched on observation rock perches, ready to give an alert chirp when they see danger.

Gopher. Photo by Pinedale Online.
This little guy lives in the Scab Creek campground.

Sage Grouse. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Sage Grouse
Sage grouse blend in incredibly well with the vegetation. Sometimes their clucking noises are heard before they can be spotted in the sagebrush.

Scab Creek Antelope. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Scab Creek Antelope
Antelope prefer the open sagebrush hills to the forested areas. Some antelope Moms can be seen with newborn twins.

Collared antelope. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Collared antelope
This antelope is wearing a radio collar.

Scab Creek Campground. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Scab Creek Campground
The campground is in a grove of aspen and pine trees. NO WATER is available at this campground.

Stock Staging Area. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Stock Staging Area
There are corrals, hitching posts and a loading ramp at the stock staging area.

Scab Creek Trailhead. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Scab Creek Trailhead
Trailhead access at Scab Creek.

Struggle Up. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Struggle Up
Be prepared for a workout when you start out. The trail is called "Struggle Up".

Trailhead sign. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Trailhead sign
The Scab Creek trailhead accesses Boundary Line, Toboggan and Divide Lakes, as well as the middle and southern portions of the Bridger Wilderness Area.

Scab Creek Camp Site. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Scab Creek Camp Site
The campground has 9 units (free, no services). It is a 2 mile hike to fishing.

Smalll pond near campground. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Smalll pond near campground
This small pond is a short stroll over the hill from the campground. It mostly dries up by summer.

Campground Restroom. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Campground Restroom

Scab Creek Access sign. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Scab Creek Access sign
Sign from Hwy 353 junction.

Osprey nest. Photo by Pinedale Online.
Osprey nest
This osprey built a nest on a platform on top of a power pole. In many places, utility companies have built special poles and platforms to keep osprey from building nests on power poles where they can become electrocuted and short out power service.
Pinedale Online > News > June 2005 > Elk, elk and more elk at Scab Creek!

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