Cade Mountain P900
Slater Butte P500
Jackson Peak P500
Peak 3,860ft P750
Dillon Mountain P1K
Peak 3,800ft P300
Ukonom Mountain P1K
Peak 4,580ft P500

Sun, Oct 27, 2019
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPX


Day 3 of my Fall trip to the North Coast ranges was a bit of a mixed bag. High winds that blew most of the night had dropped leaves, branches and no small amount of trees, too. My initial effort was a long 15mi drive to visit Lake Mtn, a CC-listed summit I had to forgo on a previous trip because of snow. I was up by 5:30a to start my day, driving much of the route to Lake Mtn in the dark. I had to drive over a few trees up to six inches in diameter but ultimately got stopped 2/3 of the way up the mountain by an uphill tree that had fallen on the road, blocking it. It was too big to move or cut with my saw, so I had to turn around. A second effort to Evan Mtn nearer the Klamath River was stopped by private property, a third by another downed tree. Consequently, it wasn't until 8:45a that I was able to start the first hike. Sometimes that's just the way things go...

Cade Mtn/Slater Butte/Jackson Peak

These three summits are located at the southern end of Thompson Ridge, northeast of Happy Camp. I had only planned to do Cade Mtn, the P900, but found the others each not far from the previous so it ended up being much longer before I returned to the highway and the Klamath River. A paved Forest road climbs up Thompson Ridge, making the driving easy and suitable for any vehicle. For Cade, I parked at Shinar Saddle, 2/3mi to the northwest of the summit. An old logging road/firebreak runs up the ridgeline but is fairly brushy. Still, better than trying to go up on either side of the ridge, as far as I could tell. I expected the summit to be buried in forest, but was surprised to find it had an excellent view looking south to Happy Camp and the Klamath River drainage. I left a register here before descending the same way.

At Shinar Saddle I noticed a sign pointing up the road to a lookout. If Barbara Lilley could spend more than a hundred days chasing down lookout summits, so could I. Another recent downfall blocked the road before I could reach the summit, but the walk was fairly short. In fact, I found that the downfall was less than 100yds from a locked gate anyway. Rather than follow the road, I took a more direct route up the slope from the north, finding a use trail of sorts and only moderate brush to contend with. The lookout was closed up but allowed one to climb to the observation deck for better views. With the exception of that looking south marred by a host of telecom antennae, the views were quite fine, overlooking much of the Siskiyou Mountains all over Northern California and into Oregon.

Back at the jeep, a few more miles of driving got me to the north side of Jackson Peak. A road shown on the topo getting close to the summit is now blocked to traffic, but it makes a good footpath to avoid the brushy ridgeline. At the end of this spur road I found a use trail leading up through forest understory to the summit. No views on this one, but Bighorn Bill had left a register in 2011, already collecting 13 pages of entries, many of them from crews battling various fires in the area.

Peak 3,860ft

After finishing the first three summits, I drove down to SR96, stopping at Happy Camp for a large soda, snack and some gas. As I was driving south on the highway towards Dillon Mtn, I noticed on the GPSr an unnamed summit on the other side of the river, towering high with 800ft of prominence. A bridge appeared right about where it should if one were to look for a way up, so I figured it was karma and left the highway to investigate. I didn't really size up the driving effort required which turned out to be 14mi each way. Not sure I would have even started had I known this, especially considering the odds of downfall blocking the road somewhere. Luck was with me and I found the road clear all the way to the north side of the summit, only 1/3mi away. I used an old road now closed to vehicles to hike closer, then up mildly brushy slopes to the open summit - as good as any summit I visited today. Seemed worth a register for such an obscure peak, so I left one before heading back.

Dillon Mtn/Peak 3,800ft

I drove back down to SR96, south a few more miles, then a 9mi drive to Dillon Mtn, about half of the road paved. I parked only a few hundred yards from the summit on the west side where the road ends in a clearing with great views off to the west. It took only a few minutes to hike up to the summit which had so-so views, much of them blocked by high brush. Peak 3,800ft was a bonus peak a few miles from Dillon, only a short bit of driving off the route to Dillon. The cross-country route I used to reach the summit was helped by a wide firebreak, but the very top was quite brushy and a bit slow-going. There was a single, very tall pine sitting close to the summit that had survived the fire that took out most of the other trees. Good view of Dillon Mtn from the summit, but otherwise not terribly interesting.

Ukonom Mtn/Peak 4,580ft

Once again I drove back down to SR96 and then up the east side, another 9mi drive to Ukonom Lookout. I think I drove about 100mi today and perhaps 15,000 vertical feet - well done, Jeep. The first five miles of the Forest road was paved, then good dirt to Ukonom. There was a locked gate just over half a mile before the summit, necessitating another short hike. This lookout was closed up for the season, but also nicely constructed to let visitors on the observation deck. As one might expect from a lookout sitting atop a P1K, the views were outstanding. To the south was a last bonus peak only a short distance off my route, Peak 4,580ft. From Ukonom, the peak looks like it has an inverse mohawk, a clearcut path neatly forged through the forest across the summit. I parked on the northeast side of the peak where the spur road gets closer, but found the effort fairly heavy with brush. It probably would have been better to make the longer hike up the clearcut from the northwest, but I made my route work. Trees block most of the views, but there is a nice one looking southwest down the Klamath River drainage.

It was too cold where I'd parked (41F) to take a shower, so I drove back down to the highway and river where it was ten degrees warmer at a very fine campsite riverside. Nice!


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