Hike Difficulty: moderate
Hike Length: 3.28 mi RT (didn’t summit)
Elevation Gain: 1204 ft
Time: 1 hr 39 mins
My Rating (out of 5): 4.5 – I’ve driven by this mountain several times going down I-5, but I never stopped to give it a shot. This was actually my Plan B for today because I couldn’t find the trail from Castle Lake to Heart Lake. When I first saw how much snow was on the mountain this morning, I figured it wouldn’t be hikeable or that my car wouldn’t even be able to make it to the trailhead. The conditions actually turned out to be much better than I thought. There are a whole network of roads that you can chose from depending on where the snow is heavy or where the rocks are too threatening. I made a few bad choices on my way in and got all sorts of scratches down the side of my car from manzanitas, but it was totally worth it.
Others had recently used the trail, so I didn’t even really need my snowshoes; I just followed the footsteps for the most part. There were some moments when I postholed, but in general, it was an easy snow climb. I didn’t quite get to the summit because the dark clouds were rolling in and I didn’t want to get caught on the mountain. I had some issues coming back down in my car and ended up with a flat tire in the middle of the forest, so that was a fun experience. Even with the tire problem, I’ve decided I’ll have to come back to this one when it warms up again!