For some reason, my GPX track reset while I was on my way to Brushy Butte,
so the first five summits aren't to be found on the track. Not the first time
it's happened - maybe someday I'll figure out what causes it, probably some
sort of user error.
On the second of three days in the Shasta-Trinity NF, I had planned to spend
most of it driving around to various P1Ks in the region around Lake McCloud,
between Interstate 5 to the west and SR89 to the east and north. As I found on
the prior day, the road conditions are finicky, particularly at this time of
year before the Forest Service has had a chance to clear the roads of downfall
after the winter snows begin to melt. A heavy snow year meant that a number of
roads below 5,000ft elevation were still blocked by snow. All of which meant
that I had to hunt around to find open roads. After driving down from my
campsite, I discovered that the main road between Iron Canyon Reservoir and
Lake McCloud is Forest Route 11, also called Hawkins Creek Rd. Starting at the
northeast end of the reservoir, the road is paved for several miles before
becoming good gravel as it climbs up and over the divide between the two
bodies of water and their drainages. Shortly over the divide, I found a spur
road following along the crest to the southeast in the direction of my main
objective, Shoeinhorse Mountain, a P1K. This road had showed less traffic and
maintenance, but it was open to get me close enough to the mountain. There were
other peaks along the road to Shoeinhorse, bonus peaks that I stopped to visit
This was the first stop on the way out to Shoeinhorse Mtn, the road passing
below the summit on the north and west sides. I stopped where the road goes over
a shoulder due west of the summit and went up from there, a distance of maybe
1/3mi. There was in places, but nothing serious.
is buried in the forest with a few large trees standing
sentinel nearby. Nothing tricky on this one.
This unnamed point lies about a mile west of Dutchman Peak. Two more miles of
driving got me to a point on the Southwest Ridge where
follows the ridge to the summit. No longer driveable, I parked here and hiked
the 3/4mi to the summit, mostly along the old road, parts of it
to negoatiate. There was a good view of
enroute, but for most of the way and at
there were no views to be had. Neither of these first two summits had
anything of much interest to get excited about.
Tamarack / Little Shoeinhorse / Shoeinhorse
I continued driving southwest on the road once back at the jeep, the road
winding its way on one side of the ridge or the other. I reached a junction
directly on the ridge where one road traverses the north side of the ridge,
skirting below these three summits. This road (37N48) I found later was blocked
by snow around the 4,500-foot mark and wouldn't have worked too well. The other
fork (37N15Y) goes directly up and along the ridge and it was this that I
tried first. It's pretty steep and 4WD is probably required. Unfortunately, I
found the road
only a few hundred feet up from the junction.
I was barely able to turn around, parking the jeep there and setting off on
foot since I was only about 2mi from Shoeinhorse at this point. There were
a few other places with downfall, but for the most part it seems this road is
maintained for public use and it was just too early in the season. It made for
a nice hike anyway, with
off both sides of the ridgeline. My first
stop was Tamarack Mtn where snow blocked the road. I left the road to climb
the short distance to the . There are two
billboard-sized just below the summit on the
northeast side. Tamarack's summit is with low scrub and rocks,
the next two peaks, slightly higher, could be seen to the southwest. None of
the summits are very peak-like, rather just
rounded bumps along a very long ridgeline. I rejoined the road and
to the next summit, Little Shoeinhorse Mtn. The road goes
very close to on this one, requiring maybe a hundred feet of
easy cross-country at most. It probably helped that a fire burned over this
summit back in 2012. The larger trees appear to have been salvaged but the
smaller ones were left as
standing snags like a small ghost forest, the brush doing its best to grow back
before the new trees can take hold. There is a USFS atop
Little Shoeinhorn with similar views as Tamarack. To
surprisingly large Squaw Creek drainage with Bagley Mtn (which I visited the
previous day) visible as the highest point on the ridge opposite the drainage.
It was another short distance along the road to the morning's highpoint atop
Shoeinhorse Mtn, a P2K rising to over 5,200ft. The road goes directly over
here with no need to wander into the brush and downfall on either side.
It was the ugliest of the three summits with little in the way of greenery to
brighten the scene. The road continues, but the next peak I was interested in,
North Fork Mtn (also a P1K) was more than four air miles to the southwest. This
was too much hiking for me with a weak knee, so I turned around and left it for
another visit, perhaps in the fall when I can drive further on the road network.
After returning to the jeep, I drove back down to the junction and tried the
other road, finding it blocked by snow as mentioned earlier. I was hoping to
use it for a couple of other bonus peaks nearby, Ladybug Butte and Van Sicklin
Butte, but I quickly lost interest when the effort to get to them became too
The next P1K on my list was Grizzly Peak, about 4mi north of Dutchman Peak.
There is a lookout at the summit with good roads leading to it, but at over
6,000ft, I knew I would be stopped by snow well short of the summit. Brushy
Butte is a bonus peak along the road to Grizzly from the south, and at around
5,200ft elevation, I figured I might be able to get this one while checking out
the road to Grizzly. I didn't quite make the drive to the junction for
Brushy Butte, but I got close enough, around 4,500ft.
I parked the jeep there, walking the remaining 1/3mi to the junction with a
spur road heading up to Brushy Butte in less than a mile. This spur road
well enough, but soon becomes
and large heaps of earth that had been piled to intentionally block the old
road. It made for an easy path to the summit on foot, though I had to hike
across several hundred feet of soft snow near the summit before finding a small
in a large clearing surrounded by trees.
I left here before heading back down the way I'd come.
to the jeep, my next P1Ks were to the northwest, on the west
side of Lake McCloud. I drove the good Hawkins Creek Rd down towards the lake,
finding it cleared of debris and in excellent shape. Two miles from the lake I
was suddenly stopped short by large concrete blocks
Closed sign. Later I found that a washout had closed the road the previous
Fall and it had yet to be repaired. There were no detours available around it,
so I had no choice but to return back over the crest to Iron Canyon Reservoir
and change objectives. Luckily I had plenty of gas still and other peaks to the
east I could chase after.
East of Iron Canyon Reservoir, west of SR89 and north of the Pit River are two
P1Ks, Bald Mtn and Chalk Mtn. I had found no TRs describing ascents, so I was
own my own to figure out the roads and how to reach them. There is a very good
gravel road between Big Bend and Lake Britton that cuts through the mountains
between the two P1Ks.
Called Summit Lake Rd, I traveled this from one end to the other
over the course of the afternoon. My first effort was to reach Bald Mtn, and
to that end I tried two different routes to get closer to the peak, but both
were blocked by closed gates. The peak and most of the area around it are owned
by the Sierra Pacific timber company. The roads were closed to vehicles only,
but foot traffic was allowed. It would have been 5-6mi each way on foot so I
left this for another time when my knee is stronger, then turned my attention
to Chalk Mtn. This summit is within USFS lands, so no access issues. There is
a spur road off Summit Lake Rd that climbs up to the SE Ridge of Chalk Mtn,
coming very close to the summit.
was blocked at a junction by snow and
downfall, but I managed to get within 3/4mi of the summit - close enough. with
the summit at nearly 6,000ft, I was surprised to have gotten this far,
especially on the north side of the mountain. I hiked
through forest, leaving it to go cross-country when I'd had enough of the snow
that covered much of the road. There was on the cross-country
route near the summit, but was open and snow-free. The summit
had burned over back in 2009 and so far there is little evidence of the trees
returning. is found in a clump of rocks not far to the
west of the point indicated on LoJ. I found a USFS but no
is a firebreak running across the summit and with a sturdy vehicle and a cleared
road, one could probably drive to the top. On the way back I followed the
firebreak down to the end of the spur road, then took this back down to the
jeep. The snow on the road was much less of a nuisance going downhill than in
the other direction.
Long Valley Mountain
After returning to the jeep, I drove back to Summit Lake Rd (btw, the actual
Summit Lake is a huge disappointment, more a mudhole/swamp than a lake) and
drove this east to .
I continued through McArthur Burney Falls
SP nearly to SR89 before turning off on another good forest road heading up
towards Long Valley Mtn, my last stop for the day. The road goes around the
north side of the summit, well below top, but a spur road goes higher on the
west side. Much of the west side was recently logged, with huge stacks of
not-so-big trees stacked high on either side of the road. It was incredibly
dusty driving up this road from the recent activity. I could have driven much
higher in hindsight, but not knowing this, I stopped about 2/5mi from the summit
where it looked like I could follow the up towards the
top. The logging didn't extend to the summit, but it got me close enough that
the cross-country was very short and little trouble. had a
small clearing but no views and I left in a small pile of
rocks before heading back down.
After returning to the jeep I drove back out on the road, stopping on the east
side of Long Valley Mtn at a saddle where I showered and got some fresh clothes.
I drove down to the SR89/SR299 junction where I got gas and a very large can
of Mike's Hard Lemonade that I would put to good use. I spent well over an hour
driving north into the Whitehorse Mountains where I planned to start the next
day. Near the end, I barely retreated out of a very muddy section of road that
caught me by surprise in the twilight hour. Remote as it was, it would have been
a very unfortunate affair that I was glad didn't go quickly south. Even with
4WD and both lockers on, I barely got out of that one. Relieved, I drove a short
distance back to drier, level ground where I spent the night.