Hike Difficulty: a constant, moderately steep climb
Trail Hike Length: 4.2 mi RT
Elevation Gain: 810 ft
My Rating (out of 5): 4.0 – Here’s another trail that ended up being just a really rocky road — not the ice cream. Soda Mountain Wilderness is actually a somewhat newly protected area, as Congress designated it as such in 2009. The beauty of the area is that it is at the crossroads between three relatively different ecosystems, so you get a little bit of everything.
Getting there was interesting because the lesser-used trails are usually not marked very well nor do they have good roads. The latter was true in this case. Soda Mountain Road was easy to find — right off 66 in the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument — but once you get past a few residential areas, the road gets sketchy. On the way to Soda, I found my next adventure or two: Hobart Bluff trailhead is on the same road and the PCT is easily accessible from there to get to Little Pilot Rock and Boccard Point.
Overall, I liked the views in the end, especially of Mt. Shasta and the Irongate Reservoir. I also liked being able to see my good friend Pilot Rock closeby so I could orient myself a bit better. Though I might not hike Soda Mountain again for a while, I’ll definitely keep exploring the area.