This was the start of a six-day roadtrip to the North Coast Region, my fifth trip to the area in a little over a month's time. This would be the longest, allowing me to get to some of the really deep peaks off SR96 in the NW corner of the state. I was primarily out hunting prominence and CC-listed summits, but I would throw in an occasional Wilderness HP and a bunch of easy bonus peaks if they were in the vicinity.

Mule Mountain

This is a fairly low-elevation P900 west of Redding and southeast of Whiskeytown Lake, on BLM lands. It's a popular area for mountain bikers with a a whole network of trails, well-signed and turns banked for bikes. One can park at the end of Delano Dr where there is a gravel TH parking lot. The area burned over in the huge 2018 Carr fire the previous summer, so it's not so pictureque these days. It was 82F when I started around 10:40a after a 4-hour drive from San Jose. It would be over 90F before I finished, making it less pleasant than it might otherwise be. The good news is there are maintained trails all the way to the summit - no need to bushwhack on this one. It took an hour and ten minutes to make my way to the summit, a distance of just under 3mi. The creek crossings near the beginning were trivial. There is a picnic bench at Black Bear Pass just below the summit and another one on top with fairly open views. Bully Choop and Shasta Balley rise high to the west, burned over in the same fire. To the northwest can be seen Whiskeytown Lake, and Mt. Shasta can be seen just poking above the horizon to the north.

Eastman BM

An hour of driving got me within a short distance of this P1K located in the southern end of the Trinity Mountains, roughly between Trinity Lake and Whiskeytown Lake. At nearly 5,000ft elevation, temperatures were in the 70s here and much more manageable. The roads around here are well-maintained, useable by most any vehicle. Much of this area had burned in the same fire as Mule Mtn, though there were pockets of trees that had survived and they would help regenerate the landscape over the coming decades. I parked at the base of the SE Ridge where a motorcycle track allows clear access to the summit via a short but steep climb, taking about 20min to reach the bare, fire-cleared top. There are snowy views of the Trinity Alps to the west and Mt. Shasta to the northeast.

Peak 4,635ft

After returning to the jeep, I continued south on the good road that follows the crest and the boundary between Trinity and Shasta Counties, heading towards Hoadley Peaks. Peak 4,635ft is an easy bonus roughly halfway between. I parked at the saddle on the north side and hiked about a quarter mile along an old, rough firebreak to the summit. The twin summits of Hoadley Peaks could be seen to the south and Eastman BM to the north. To the east was the small rise that comprises Brunswick Ridge which I visited next.

Brunswick Ridge

With little prominence, I would have skipped this one, save for the fact that I could drive the jeep to the summit, a short but fun little exercise. A transmission tower lies atop the open summit with views east to Whiskeytown Lake.

Hoadley Peaks

These summits anchor the southern end of the Trinity Mountains before the ridge drops down to SR299 at buckhorn Summit. The northern summit is the highest, sporting almost 800ft of prominence, a benchmark, and no views. The southern summit has a telecom installation and partial views. I parked off the roadway where it passes just below the saddle between the two summits on the east side. I hiked up an old motorcycle track to the saddle, then visited the two summits in turn before returning. About 40min was all that was needed to complete the circuit to both points.

Sugar Pine Mtn

These last two summits were a pair of prominence points within the Hoopa Indian Reservation another two hours' drive west along SR299. The Trinity River flows north through the center of the reservation on its way to the confluence with the Klamath River along SR96. The Trinity flows through Hoopa Valley where most of the residents live. There are some homesteads in the hills on either side, but these are generally not far from the valley floor. On a trip a year earlier, I had been able to drive through the reservation to access the Six Rivers NF lands around North Trinity Mtn to the east of the reservation, finding no gates and no signs for No Trespassing. This would be the same experience I found today. The roads were in decent shape that any vehicle could manage. At just under 4,000ft, Sugar Pine Mtn is the highest point in the western half of the reservation. A good road passes within 1/5mi of the summit on the east side, making for short cross-country hike through open forest understory and zero views at the summit.

Peak 3,160ft

This unnamed P900 lies about 8mi north of Sugar Pine Mtn. I had to first drive back down to Hoopa Valley, then along a paved road to the north end of Hoopa Valley. The road then begins to switchback up the hill, passing a number of homesteads. Some cattle were found munching lush grass in various places including a boatyard and other unconventional pasturelands. The pavement gives way to dirt past the last home and then several more miles as the road passes east and north of the highpoint. The forest here is considerably brushier and though only a roundtrip distance of less than half a mile, it took some stomping around and circuitous route-finding to find my way to the summit and back. No views on this one, either.

It was after 8p when I got back to the jeep where I showered in a hurry while fighting off mosquitoes. They would be a nuisance for only the hour or so around sunset, not really being an issue at other times of the day. I drove back down to Hoopa Valley once again, filling up on gas (quite a bit cheaper than anywhere else in the state) and some snacks before continuing north on SR96. It would be nearly 10p by the time I had found a quiet place to camp and had eaten a quick dinner. Busy as today was, tomorrow would be even busier...


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