Open This Route in a New Window
Where the road ends near the wilderness boundary, it immediately narrows to more of a trail even though there is still evidence of it having been a road at one time. The trail continues on the west side of the creek for some distance. After about 3/4 mile, we decided to begin gaining altitude by contouring upward on the west side of the valley. This involved a little bushwhacking through forest and steep hiking on mostly grass as we headed southwest, roughly toward a flat area of several ponds at 12,000 ft. As you approach this area, keep a watch out for some elk. We spotted some who headed south across the upper basin and took a trail that dropped them over the ridge connecting the two sequenced summits. Our concealed approach allowed us to get very close to them before they fled.
We did not go all the way to the ponds however. Instead, we turned west and gained another bench area that allowed us to contour SW, then south and then SSW when we began our ascent of the northeast slopes of the peak. All of this hiking is on pleasant tundra and grass and you may see frequent indications of elk having been in this area. Watch across the valley also where you may see other elk feeding in the high tundra.
Once you gain the south ridge of the peak at about 13,000 ft., turn north to finish on mostly small rock. From the top of this summit, enjoy a fine view of the surrounding valleys and much of your route. You can also gaze down into Taylor Park, the Red Mountain Creek drainage and Jenkins Mountain. Either return as you came or head on over to UN13,295 via the long, connecting ridge.