4 to 6 or miles rt depending on where you go
ele max: 5798 ft
ele gain: ~1500
gpx tracks, use at your own risk: Grouse Ridge
I had heard of this trail several times over the years but never knew of the access. Today I was heading up to Heliotrope and I ran into a group of volunteers who help keep these roads open. They suggested I try this and told me how to get there. It is pretty straight forward; head to the parking for Heliotrope and just before parking take the road to the right. Follow that road for a few miles going left at every option. At the end of this road is the trail. It is a user built and maintained trail so there are not any of those fancy switchbacks nor those fancy drainage things. The trail is steep and in places, muddy. And absolutely wonderful!
It starts off for about 1/2 a mile through an old logged out area before entering into the forest. This quickly gives way to sub-alpine meadows/forests and here is where the views start. If from parking you look up you can see the hill you will be going up, sometimes there are goats on that hill.
Once you leave the forested area there is a creek to cross, I like to take water from here for drinking. After a short while the trail becomes more of a suggestion and you just head to the ridge cresting in whatever place looks good to you.
Getting the top of the ridge about took my breath away, I had no idea how wonderful the view would be. I have been back up here a few times and normally I go to the left but heading right takes you out to a nice viewpoint as well which really showcases the twins and over to the bay.
I got all this for the low price of just 2 miles! On this first visit I kept going another half mile or so out to this knob.
I sat for a good long while, made a cup of coffee and just enjoyed being alive. I was kept company by this little guy.
This has quickly become my new favorite. I can’t wait to come back next year and explore. I intend to drop down crossing over to the next ridge closer to the Buttes and run that up closer to the mountain. Love, love, love this hike.