Tom Martin Peak P1K
Browns Knob
Lake Mountain P750 CC
Peak 6,300ft
Peak 6,386ft P300
Peak 6,460ft P500
Peak 4,223ft P300

Thu, Sep 15, 2022
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

It had been a year since I'd last visited Northern California, so when I was contacted by Sean Casserly to see if I was interested in a hike to Cabin Peak, a P1K deep in the Trinity Alps, I readily agreed. It had been nearly two weeks since my last peakbagging foray, so I decided to head out a few days early to do some other peaks in the area. I got up very early and left San Jose around 4a so that I could get a good half day of peakbagging in after some 7hrs of driving. I was heading to the Marble Mtns in the far northern part of the state, west of Yreka. Much of the Marble Mtns are taken up by the Marble Mountain Wilderness where I planned to hike the next day, but today's peaks were outside the Wilderness to the north in an area with numerous Forest Roads to make all of these short, easy hikes.

Tom Martin Peak

This was the highest peak of the day and a P1K. I had tried to reach it along with Lake Mountain a few years earlier from the north, but found it blocked by downed trees - it was too early in the season and the road had not yet been cleared by the Forest Service. Today I approached from the south and the Scott Bar River. A decent Forest Road climbs more than 4,000ft as it switchbacks up the SW Ridge of Tom Martin Peak and eventually reaches the low saddle northwest of the summit. The topo map shows a spur road then climbing to the 6,200-foot level to a higher saddle, but this was blocked by downed trees soon after I turned off onto it. It appears that this road is no longer maintained for vehicle use. No matter, it would take less than 40min to reach the summit, initially up the continuing road, then cross-country through open terrain that had burned in the 2014 Happy Camp Fire. Some trees survived the fire in small pockets, and these are helping to repopulate the slopes, but it a long way from recovery, still. The summit had a benchmark with a nice view of Lake Mountain to the west. A register dated to 2010, but I suspect it is older than that. Rodents did a number on the pages and probably removed the earliest ones for nesting material.

Brown Knob

This is a very minor summit with little prominence, found between Tom Martin and Lake Mountain. A spur road, somewhat brushy, makes this a drive-up, the summit carpeted with a mix of conifers and manzanita.

Lake Mountain

I had wanted to get to this summit for quite a few years as it lands on the CC List, and is one of the four peaks I had remaining on it. It is a bit of a letdown since it is a drive-up. There's a manned USFS lookout tower at the top. The occupant was not wearing the standard Forest Service uniform, but a tye-died shirt and shorts and playing very much the hermit hippy. The inside of the tower was neatly kept, all the drawers labeled with the items they held. One of these was labeled "Incense" and there was a thin stick burning when I walked up. He was a congenial fellow and we got along nicely. He lives in the tower for 4-5 days at a stretch, then retreats to Fort Jones where he occupies a bare-bones, USFS hostel-like room that he gets for free (I think). There's a frisbee golf wicket at the north end of the summit area, though no frisbees that I saw. He doesn't get many visitors and seemed to appreciate the ones he does get. I didn't stay very long, but we talked about some of the roads I might use to let me make a loop of the drive. He hadn't driven most of these himself, but had maps that showed which ones are still maintained, which I found very helpful.

Peak 6,300ft

Though only about a mile southeast of Lake Mountain, there's no direct road between them. Instead, I would spend almost an hour plying the various Forest roads going quite a few miles around the north side of Lake Mtn on twisty roads of decent quality. Spur Forest Rd 45N19Y goes over the southwest shoulder of this minor summit, leaving a 5min walk to the summit over easy terrain. The summit is flattish, partially flanked by trees.

Peak 6,386ft

Roughly a mile SSW of Peak 6,300ft, the drive was a lot shorter, only ten minutes. I parked at a saddle on the north side and followed an old firebreak up the forested ridge for about half an hour to the rocky summit. There is a nice view to the northeast of Lake Mtn and Tom Martin. I left a register under the small cairn someone had built on the summit.

Peak 6,460ft

This summit has more than 600ft of prominence and lies about a mile south of Peak 6,386ft. 25min of driving on Forest roads got me to Tyler Meadows, about half a mile west of the summit. Less than 30min of cross-country travel up the west side side saw me to the summit. There is a good deal of downfall from the 2014 fire scattered about the upper slopes. On the way back I detoured more to the northwest for somewhat less downfall to negotiate. I left a second register at the summit.

Peak 4,223ft

This is a much lower summit that I passed by on the drive back down to the Scott River. I parked where FR46N64 goes over a saddle on its northwest side, leaving an easy 15min hike to the summit. The view east overlooks the Scott River drainage with the Scott Bar Mtns on the far side. It was well after 6p by the time I finished up, the sun well on its way to setting over the western mountains.

I showered at the parking space, then headed to Fort Jones where I got dinner at Five Marys Burgerhouse. One of only a few dining places in town, the food was decent and the service excellent. Afterwards, I headed south on SR3 to Greenview, then Forest roads to the Kidder Creek TH on the eastern boundary of the Marble Mtn Wilderness. I met some friendly hunters with their preteen sons who were also camping at the TH. More fun tomorrow...


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