After our drive in light rain conditions, we hoped we would be able to get this hike in too. It's long been on my wish list and lived up to the hype. When you first see the volcano you wonder how the trail will get you there. The 1.25 miles to the dam ladder
go fairly quickly and you get to enjoy the shrubbery and trees along the way. There weren't too many folks on the trail, I presume due to weather. Eventually you drop into a wash that is soft to your feet and as the hike desc states, you are now flanked by black cinder slopes. John kept eyeing the one on the right
trying to determine if it was "doable". He would eventually decide not and we would do our climb from the area just before the cinder slope on our way back.
Once we reached the dam there is a choice. Climb straight up the wall or take the short ladder. You know what John's choice was and if not, check out the video. Once over the dam you are welcomed to a new world and you don't know which way to look, let alone go first. After walking further, John decided we should go to the right where we meandered for a bit before coming to our first dead end of the day. The rock here, though rounded, is somewhat sharp and slippery. We walked around for just a few more moments before finding a log to sit against for our quick lunch. John and I have been so fortunate to share some incredible lunch spots
this spring and summer. We could hear the hawks and take in this unique scenery.
As we were getting up to explore, it started to rain but only lasted less than a few minutes so we moved to the south and headed up a mini-canyon. I was a little encumbered by my bum arm but followed John up pretty far 'til we really couldn't go any further without a little more effort. It was great fun though and I love climbing around this sort of thing
. It reminded me a bit of THE Wave where you can climb up and around to explore... but on a much smaller scale here. Nonetheless, it provided high entertainment value for this hike. Last we checked out the area to the east but here you have to go up a log and then go straight up to see what's above.
On our return, we decided to take the cinder slope to the south of the trail and by-pass the dam ladder. I just knew it would be fun to go down the other side. We actually toyed with the idea of going up from here rather than down as there seems to be a path that takes you up and west of the volcano. But getting to the path there was a slippery slope that looked a little too treacherous
so instead, we went over by the big rocks to use as a hand-rail for the sketchy footing one needed to get to the path down this side of the slope. Once to the easy part of the slope, it was a cushy walk down though I was hoping for a little more slide action.
A couple of the hikers behind us decided, rather than using the rocks as hand rails, to slide down on one foot. She did quite good at that while he tried both feet. It's just a small section but it has no grip.
We walked a little ways down the trail to where the cinder slope ends and by that time had decided, since it was early yet (2 PM), to head UP the west side of the mountain
. There was still some cinder but with more dirt than cinder and more vegetation, it was faily easy to maintain your footing.
It was a bit of a slog
up for me but John patiently created a route to follow with itsy bitsy switchbacks so that we wouldn't have to go straight up the entire time. Fortunately the weather really cooperated so it wasn't hot and you would get an occasional breeze. And of course, I would have to turn around now and again to get pictures
of the new views. John tried to keep us away from the cinder so we stayed to the west side of the slope for the most part. After about 20 minutes you can venture over to the east side of the slope and take a look in at the volcano... but John came back from where we would stop to say I needed to come a little further.
And as we walked our last little bit to the stopping point, we passed a fire ring. Just past here a little ways you encouter a sloping saddle that takes you down and over to the southwest steep slope that you would more or less have to make your way straight up and east to the high point of Red Mountain. But the views from here were simply spectacular
. We took a group photo with Humphreys and Slate Mtn along with the volcano in the background and then headed back along side the volcano. In this one area, once again it had that THE Wave look to it along with cool hoo doos and such. It was just so darn cool
We stayed toward the east side of the slope as we made our way down and tho it was more cinder-like, you could still maintain your footing with relative ease. I was glad that John had taken us up the more western side and down this slightly slippery east side of the slope. And before you knew it, we were back down at the trail and made our way back. The sun was finally starting to come through now, just as I had asked when we started the hike. I wanted to have a couple pictures with the sun on the volcano.
Here are a few videos:
1st part of Red Mountain Trail - http://youtu.be/irf8AXJvS6g
Trailing around in the volcano, back up and out over the cinder slope - http://youtu.be/EY6uiQkpF4A
Climbing up and down Red Mountain and back to the TH - http://youtu.be/Lku2YVoHN_g
The Red Mtn Trail itself would be a nice quick hike before you head to the GC... it breaks up the riding in the car thing.