Foster Meadow Loop


Difficulty 2 Beginner-intermediate
Length 3.5 miles round trip
7050 feet
+350, -350 feet
Navigation Road and map
Time Several hours
Season December through mid-April
Snowmobiles Low [Snowmobile traffic is only low although part of route coincides with Silver Bear Snowmobile Trail.]
USGS Topo 7.5' series, Bear River Reservoir and Peddler Hill
Start Junction of Highway 88 and Foster Meadow Road, 0.8 mile east of Peddler Hill Maintenance Station and 11.1 miles west of the Silver Lake dam. Parking is on the north side of the highway in a cut-out that only holds 4 to 6 vehicles. Park carefully to maximize capacity.


Everyone likes a loop trip. Here's a way to turn the Foster Meadow tour into a loop that is only slightly more difficult..

The Foster Meadow Loop adds a little bit of a challenge and excitement for beginners who may have never left the security of a road and forced to search out their own route. For this reason the tour is rated beginner-intermediate. But the navigation is pretty straight forward and can be done with only a map. It requires you to leave one road, enter the meadow and then find a road on the other side of the meadow. The total distance you are off the road is only about 0.2 mile. Of course a compass adds a sense of security and this is a good place to practice using it.

There is also the opportunity for a detour from Foster Meadow to visit Cosumnes Falls where the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River plunges 20 feet.

Strong beginner-intermediate skiers can extend the Foster Meadow Loop tour by also skiing to the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River.

Mileage Log
Numbers in parentheses
correspond to mileage points on map

Miles: 0.0 - 0.5
Elevation change: -100 feet

From the trailhead (1) ski north and then west on snow-covered Foster Meadow Road for a total of 0.5 mile until you intersect the groomed Silver Bear Snowmobile Trail (2). You will pass a road on your right at 0.1 mile.

Miles: 0.5 - 1.0
Elevation change: -100 feet

Turn north (right) onto the Silver Bear Snowmobile Trail (this is still Foster Meadow Road) and follow it for 0.5 mile until you reach a lesser road that heads southwest (3). This road may not be obvious. Backtrack 0.1 mile if you reach the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River.

The Cosumnes River is small and runs through a culvert under Foster Meadow Road. The landmarks that signal that you are at the river include (1) the river is located at a low spot on Foster Meadow Road, (2) Foster Meadow Road turns to the west (left) at the river, and (3) a sign indicating the turnoff to the headwaters of the Cosumnes River is located immediately after crossing the river.

Miles: 1.0 - 1.6
Elevation change: -50 feet

Turn southwest (left) onto the lesser road and ski approximately 0.6 mile to the point where you leave the road (4). Pick a point where you can see an easy path through the trees to Foster Meadow located to the northwest. In a few places you can see the meadow from the road.

Miles: 1.6 - 1.7
Elevation change: -50 feet

Descend through the trees to the northwest for 0.1 mile until you reach Foster Meadow (5).

Miles: 1.7 - 1.8
Elevation change: +50 feet

Leave the meadow to the northwest and ascend for 0.1 mile until you reach a snow-covered road (6).

Miles: 1.8 - 2.1
Elevation change: +100 feet

Turn northeast (right) onto the road and ski 0.3 mile until you intersect larger Foster Meadow Road (7).

Miles: 2.1 - 2.4
Elevation change: -50 feet

Descend northeast (right) on Foster Meadow Road for 0.3 mile until you reach the turnoff for the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Cosumnes River (8).

Miles: 2.4 - 2.5
Elevation change: Nil

Continue following Foster Meadow Road as it turns to the south for 0.1 mile until you intersect the turnoff you took earlier to Foster Meadow (3).

Miles: 2.5 - 3.5
Elevation change: +200 feet

Retrace your for route for 1.0 mile back to the trailhead (1).

Elevation Profile
Elevation profile
Link to elevation profile
Link to waypoint data
Link to full page map
Link to see and submit reviews and corrections about tour