Dry, then not so Dry...
This is a great winter time getaway hike, and one of the nicer routes to approach either Ortega Peak (7659') or Hershberger Peak (7850'... highest point in the frontal range). It is well possible to have the trail snowboound during the winter months, but at this lower elevation it would be rare for the snow to stay around for long, and most likely it will only be a few inches thick, just adding a bit of accent to the hike.
The trail follows Dry Canyon effectively to it's upper end, in the bottom mileage following directly in or near the canyon bottom drainage, then later moving up onto the sides of the canyon before climbing fully out at the end. It is an easy grade to enjoy, and the high use given over to ATV keeps the trails easy to follow. If you make a mistake it will likely be in the lower levels accidentally staying with the drainage bottom too long (which in itself makes for great off-trail trekking).
If your goal is Ortega Peak, it will come well into view on your right about three miles into the hike. You have the option of staying on Dry Canyon Trail which will pass the mountain, ending at Trail 119 ("A" Mountain trail) which can be followed up to the base of Ortega Peak... or, pick your route and head off trial directly up for Ortega from that earlier 3 mile orientation. You cannot get lost in this simple valley cut, but the off trail can be steep, rocky, and prickly. It is probably about as fast to put in the extra miles on trail.
Hershberger Peak is also hiked off-trail from the Trail 119...heading out about half mile past the junction with Dry Canyon Trail. Simply pick your spot and exit the trail to the left.
From the end of Dry Canyon Trail you have the option of turning around and hiking back the way you came, or adding on a nice upper loop on T5573 Upper Dry Canyon Trail, accessed off of T119. Follow T119 to the left for a short distance and turn onto T5573 to the left again. This trail will connect you with Dry Canyon Alternate Trail (T5574A). turning left once again and following it back down to intersect Dry Canyon Trail close to that 3 mile point. Both T109, and T5573 proceed to connect with Westside Rd (FR90) if taken to their ends.
Trail 5573: 2.5 miles
Trail 5574: 5.1 miles
Trail 5574A: 1.1 miles
Note: Trailhead elevation is taken from a direct read of the Topo Map... other sources list it as 5600'
Forest subject to closure for fire danger May and June.
Area great place to spot Elk, Deer and Turkey... along with the oft grazing cattle, horseback riders, ATV'r and the rare bike rider.
Check out the Official Route.
This hike is listed as One-Way.
When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
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