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Greens Peak's little sister
Warning This Hike falls within a designated Wildlife Habitat Area. No Motorized Vehicles within this area. With that said, there are scars on this hill from people using motorized vehicles to get to the top. Do not use these scars as your route as steps are being taken to prevent erosion and allow the vegetation to heal. Please tread lightly and be conscious of your footprint, as this is an Off-Trail Hike. Also, realize that you are hiking in a Habitat Area, and you may be treading on homes. I came up upon a Badger's front porch doing this hike. Luckily he was not home, but I made a point to try not to crush anyone's home, including his. It is my understanding that there may be Long-tailed Weasels living in burrows up there as well.
Overview If you're looking for a quick hike with some great views, but don't feel like doing more elevation on Greens Peak, this is your ticket. While there are no views at the high point itself due to trees, the ascent, ridgeline, and descent-ridges all give you some wonderful views. As far as an off-trail ascent and descent go, it doesn't get much easier than this, for the amount of elevation you gain in such a short time. But it's a great little warm-up for other hikes in the area, or if you're just short on time.
Hike This Hike will be described as a Counter Clockwise Lasso Loop, starting from the parking spot next to the Corrals at the FS 117 Junction with FS 117A (Turnoff to Carnero Lake). Walk 117 northwest past MM 14. Halfway between MM 14 and the first stand of Aspen along the road, turn right. Go straight up the hill. The climb will go faster than you think but enjoy the emerging views on the way up. Once on top, you're on a ridgeline, and it will arc north and west to a small band of trees in the northern corner. In those trees is your high point of 9947. Enjoy more views as you hike the ridgeline. When you reach the stand of trees, you may wince at the grove's amount of deadfall. Don't panic. The high point is only about 100 feet in and just slightly more to the north. You'll know you've reached the high point when you find a low cairn of large rocks. From that point, head as directly southwest as possible, finding the most unobstructed way. In about 100 feet, you'll be in the clear once again, and at the top of the ridge in which you will descend. Before you begin your descent, however, check out what I'm calling the Octopus Tree. It's a Southwestern White Pine with about 8 arms. Reminds me of a very old saguaro. Apparently, growing out instead of up is a trend with them, at least on this peak. Once you've marveled at the tree, start your descent down the ridge, enjoying the views of Greens Peak as you go down. You'll bottom out on FR 117 and the 2nd grove of Aspen. Walk the road back to your vehicle.
A nice option in the Greens Peak area for those looking for a short, sweet little hike. Enjoy and watch out for resident badger.
Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.