Canyons are inherently risky. Flash floods occur without notice on sunny days. Technical skills & surrounding topography knowledge required yet does not eliminate risk.
The Better Way to the Top...
Given that Hershberger is the tallest peak in the frontal range at 7850', it would be nice to think that it is a common destination hike, but unfortunately, the hike up the old jeep track (trail 119) is not all that inviting, and given that motorcycles and ATV use is not an uncommon weekend application for T119... well it simply lacks appeal. Add to that the lack of easy access from T119 on up to the peak and you have a fairly unpopular peak.
Now, with a route up RockaChucky Wash accessing the ridgeline above the Mesa, there is an alternative path. And, it is a fun hike, totally off trail, with a wide variety of terrain experiences. It begins with an abrupt leg burner up an old jeep track, then a very steep ridge hike up to a cliff buttress. Once up and around that obstacle you descend down into RockaChucky Wash and play boulder bounding for a nice hour, with a tiny bit of scrambling thrown into the mix. Climbing out of RockaChucky, you enter the high desert grasslands of The Mesa, and hike a steady climb up the ridgeback, with substantial views of the surrounding canyon drainages. You cross up into nice cedar breaks with ever thickening stands of junipers... then, finally enter the scrub pines of the frontal range.
This is an area full of deer, elk and I'm told, sheep. I have not seen any sheep, but numerous hunters looking for same (it must be in season!) have asked me about them... as they ride their ATV's along T119. And, yes, you may still get to experience T119... it remains an alternative route to descend the mountain if you find yourself a bit too tired to make the return trip off trail. If you do choose this option, be aware that it will be 2 miles back over to the old jeep track, although it is a pleasant hike on dirt track (just turn left at the bottom of T119 and follow the cut, it will take you over to the city park where you can then hike the Pedestrian/Bike trail across over to the dirt trail that follows the base of the mountain. From the jeep track where you began your climb so many hours earlier, just .5 mile back to your car...parked safely on the paved road.
If you are tempted to experience Hershberger Peak from the most pleasant access, consider this route. I suggest printing out both the trail descriptions for Hershberger Peak via T119 and the RockaChucky Wash hike in addition to this hike log.
Also, consider making a nice long day of it and swing around The Mesa Loop trail... miles of cliff edge wandering around the perimeter of The Mesa...
Check out the Triplog.
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.