Hike Difficulty: very difficult
Hike Length: 9.97 mi RT
Elevation Gain: 3127 ft
Highest Point: 8333 ft
Time: 4 hrs 9 mins
My Rating (out of 5): 5.0 – I was always very intimidated by Mount Bailey and Mount Thielsen, but with Mount McLoughlin under my belt I’ve got a bit more confidence. Plus I’ve been hiking enough that 10 milers aren’t as hard as they used to be (but they’re still challenging, don’t get me wrong!) I’m going to try to knock Bailey and Thielsen out in two consecutive weekends, so I started with Mount Bailey.
I parked at the lower trailhead since I have a low-slung passenger car. It was near the south end of Diamond Lake at the intersection of Hwys 230 and 138. I followed signs for the South Shore Picnic Area, then turned on NF4795, marked Broken Arrow Campground. The turn for the trailhead is just past the trailhead for Silent Creek. Left on NF300 and you’re there. I wish I had been able to get to the upper trailhead to cut of some of the climb, but I guess it made the victory that much sweeter.
The first 2 miles were just to get me to the upper trailhead, where the real climb started. Two-thirds of the elevation gain comes in the second half of the climb. The view of Diamond Lake and Mount Thielsen kept getting better and better the more I climbed. I ran into a couple around the time that I got to the 300-ft wide crater. The last .5 miles were the most challenging because they climb a steep scree slope that follows a jagged rock wall. Look at these pics!