Mt. Lewis P300
Marble Mountain
Peak 5,729ft P300
Thompson Peak
Summit Ridge
Peak 4,623ft
Peak 4,385ft P300

Thu, May 13, 2021
Marble Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX


I had been to this area of Stanislaus NF a month earlier and found conditions north of paved Cottonwood Rd unsuitable - snow on the road, tons of uncleared downfall and such. In mid-May things were better - the snow had mostly melted and much of the downfall cleared on the better maintained roads. Still, there were lesser roads where folks had barely cleared downfall, making for tight squeezes, and other places where the downfall had not yet been dealt with. It seemed I was the first to drive those sections this year. I used my tow strap to move several large logs, a fun little exercise that I had just learned the previous day. Temperatures were nice in the early morning, but the day heated up quickly and I was ready to call it quits by noon.

Mt. Lewis

I had driven to the summit the previous evening, though I hadn't bothered to go visit the highpoint about 100ft away. There is a telecom installation nearby with a constant hum all evening, though it didn't seem to interrupt my sleep. I was up shortly before sunrise at 6a, and after dressing, I went outside to greet the new day and visit the highpoint found off the road in some low heather under the forest. No views on this one. I should mention that the final half mile stretch of road is pretty rough, high-clearance and 4WD recommended, really more of an OHV trail, though the service technicians must use it to get their trucks to the installation.

Marble Mountain

Marble Mtn is found a few miles to the southeast across the Basin Creek drainage from Mt. Lewis, connected by FR2N07. I drove this well-cleared road to a saddle on the east side, less than half a mile from the summit. The route is quite brushy to start and success seemed uncertain. There is much downfall to avoid as well, but I found the route becomes easier the closer one gets to the summit, the final stretch a more enjoyable romp through mostly clear forest understory. I took 20min to reach the highpoint where a benchmark is found on a small rock outcrop. There is a partial view to Mt. Lewis, but little else to be seen under the forest cover. I left a register here before returning the same way.

Peak 5,729ft

This summit is a mile and a half east of Marble Mtn, connected by FR2N06. I parked off the road where it gets closest, about a quarter mile on the southeast side. This is a very easy summit with clear forest understory, taking less than 10min to reach the top. Some marble-ish rocks serve as the highpoint, though no views.

Thompson Peak

This peak is another 4-5mi southeast along FR2N06. Here's where I found myself clearing several large logs before finally finding one I couldn't move with less than a mile to go. It took less than 20min to hike the road and then a short stint of easy cross-country to find the summit of this modest peak with little prominence. No views. There are the remains of a concrete foundation for a fire lookout that once stood here. A sign tacked to a tree reminds visitors this is a Controlled Area, whatever that means. I found a register left by Richard Carey in 2011. It had a number of familiar names, including MacLeod/Lilley in 2012 when Gordon was 88yrs of age.

Summit Ridge

I reversed nearly all the morning's driving to return to Lewis Mtn and descend FR2N07 that I had driven up the previous evening. I stopped along the way to visit Summit Ridge, hardly something that can be called a summit. It's just a point along the ridge rising to Mt. Lewis that LoJ decided should get the honor, despite having less than 10ft of prominence. Luckily, there was a use trail of sorts running the short distance down the ridge from the roadway that made this fairly easy. There are only a few partial views from the "summit", looking over the trees and tall brush looking south to Duckwall Mtn.

Peak 4,623ft

More driving. The next hour was spent driving down to the town of Tuolumne, gassing up at the Indian casino, then driving up towards Mt. Provo and its lower twin, Peak 4,623ft. I had been to Mt. Provo in 2015 while chasing down P900s but neglected this unnamed poor relation. The area has some private inholdings, many kept in poor shape and the area looking pretty backwater-y. I drove to the end of the road on the NW side of Peak 4,623ft, about 1/3mi from the summit. An old road, now blocked by downfall, goes to the summit up the NW ridge. This made for an easy 10min hike to the summit with poor views, including one looking west to Mt. Provo.

Peak 4,385ft

I was going to call it quits at this point, even showering at my parking spot near Peak 4,623ft. But then I noticed this one in the Cedar Ridge neighborhood above Twain Harte and decided to pay it a visit. Others on PB had reported a short hike past a gate. The gate is marked for no trespassing but was open. There are two homes tucked behind trees on the right side, and a telecom tower at the top. I simply drove through the gate and up to the top. The highpoint appears to be a small rise northeast of the installation. No views due to abundant trees. That would do it for me this trip - time to drive home...

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