Goodrich Mountain P900
Mt. Conard P900
Hat Mountain P900

Oct 27, 2018
Mt. Conard
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2 3 Profiles: 1 2


I was due back in San Jose by evening, so my last day in the Lassen National Forest area would be a shorter one to allow for the long drive home. I had in mind a handful of P900s, none of which was more than a few miles' effort. The first was along SR36 near the town of Westwood while the last two were further north, within the national park.

Goodrich Mountain

I wasn't sure I'd be able to get to this one. Neither PB nor LoJ showed any ascents and the entire mountain is located outside the national forest. Various maps show a road reaching near to the summit from the east, starting just off SR36. I was afraid I might find a locked gate right at the highway and suspected it could be a very short outing. It was not far from where I had camped for the night near Fredonyer Pass and because I had gotten up at 5:30a, it was still quite dark when I pulled off SR36 in search of the access road. I did, indeed, find it gated, but it was a simple cattle gate held up by loop of barbed-wire, no signs anywhere that I could see. So I simply unlatched the gate, drove in, reattached the gate, and continued on my way. I saw no signs, no buildings, no cattle, no vehicles nor people, so I can't say who owns the mountain or how it is utilized. I followed the road past several forks up as far as I could where it ended in a clearing littered with logging detritus (though there doesn't seem to be extensive logging on the mountain in general). I was about a quarter mile east of the summit at a saddle where I parked and started from there around 6:20a, headlamp ablaze. I climbed uphill through more forest to a small, rocky summit that was somewhat of a surprise as I expected to find no views and the summit buried in trees. I could hear a dog barking in the distance (did it catch a whiff of me?), the lights of Westwood to the southwest and the early morning just beginning to break to the east. It was a surprisingly good summit after all, and I relished the early morning hour atop it. Though the road I took was quite rough in places, the hike from the highway is not all that long and can be made even shorter by starting from the cemetery at the base of the mountain on the south side, along the highway.

Mt. Conard

After returning to the jeep, I spent almost an hour and a half driving back down the mountain to the highway and then on to Lassen NP. I stopped at the Visitor Center, just past the south entrance booth, to begin my hike from there using the Mill Creek Falls Trail. Mt. Conard lies about 2mi ESE of the Visitor Center and would be the longest hike of the day - about 2mi on trail followed by a mile of cross-country. The hike starts from the north end of the parking lot, heading downhill initially to a bridge across Sulphur Creek. It then turns eastward as it traverses the slopes below Diamond Peak and the highway to reach Mill Creek Falls. There was more water than I would have expected, but the falls must be quite a bit more impressive in Spring. Two more bridges cross the upper tributaries of the falls as the trail then begins to ascend more steeply up to Conard Meadows, eventually going over a low pass and on to the Kings Creek CG. I turned off the trail as I reached Conard Meadows and headed cross-country SSE toward the summit. The going is not difficult through forest or meadow, though the meadows could be quite a bit wetter in other seasons. About halfway to the peak the gradient becomes steep as one climbs the last 800ft up to the summit. The summit ridgeline has a faint use trail winding along it through talus over mostly bare slopes. I found no register at the highpoint when I reached it by 9:30a, so left a new one. The views are quite nice but it was rather chilly and I stayed at the summit only briefly. I took a slightly more direct route back to the trail on my return, eventually finding my way back to the jeep and the Visitor Center by 10:45a.

Hat Mountain

This was my last stop before heading home. More driving north, up and over the highpoint of the road, then down to Summit Lake. The campgrounds at the lake were all closed for the season, so I parked outside, along the highway. I followed the Summit Lake Trail east, past the north shore of the lake and then into forested lands for a distance of about 3/4mi. After the trail tops out at a small rise, I headed cross-country towards the summit which was about 3/4mi almost due north. There is low brush on the flat portion of the route, but nothing difficult. Upon reaching the base of the mountain, I found the loose slope tediously steep, climbing almost 700ft in the last quarter mile. Sand, gravel and pine needles made for an unpleasant climb to reach the uninspiring summit bathed in thick manzanita. I found an empty, red painted can lying next to a small cairn, no sign of a register. I left another of my own here, tucked inside the empty can and the cairn. The descent, at least, was great fun and took only a few minutes. I then chose to head southwest for an all-cross-country return that I figured would be shorter than the trail. This worked nicely despite some brushy parts, and I was back to the jeep in only half an hour.

As I was driving back out of the park I stopped to photograph a large, interesting-looking rock pinnacle, located between Bumpass and Sulphur Creeks. I had seen it from below while hiking the Mill Creek Falls Trail and was taken by its rugged appearance. It doesn't have a name on the maps and appears to be difficult from all angles. I will have to pay it a visit sometime in the future...

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