Black Rock, Mill Creek» Mill Creek Areas of interest

Black Rock

Throughout its length, Mill Creek Canyon is characterized by impressively sheer volcanic cliffs, pinnacles and other outcroppings.


The multiple strata visible in the cliffs are evidence of the area’s many prehistoric lava flows. The most dramatic of these features is Black Rock, a sheer-sided volcanic plug towering nearly 300 vertical feet from the center  of Mill Creek canyon. Forced to detour it, the creek makes a half circle around Black Rock’s base before pouring through a V-shaped slot into a beautiful pool on the downstream side.

Black Rock is accessible from Highway 36 via a dirt road called Ponderosa Way. The Forest Service maintains a small campground at Black Rock with fireplaces and picnic tables, from which trailheads lead both up and down stream for several miles through the scenic but rugged Ishi Wilderness. Seasoned back country drivers can navigate Ponderosa Way by regular car (very carefully); otherwise a high wheelbase, 4WD vehicle is strongly recommended. The road varies in condition from well-maintained gravel to bumpy, rutted bedrock with some steep, narrow, single-lane stretches along sheer, unprotected drops. Campfires are prohibited during the dry summer months.


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