Sunday, September 25, 2022
Although it wasn’t our original plan, today we hiked the Sawtooth Mountain Loop.
We left our cute little cabin near Trout Lake and headed towards Steamboat Mountain to do the short hike up there. We passed a truck coming down the road and they flagged us down. It was very hard to hear the guy over the noise of his diesel engine but I did catch that there were a lot of yellow jackets on the trail. I think he said that he, his wife, and dog all got stung multiple times and that they suspected a nest right beside the trail. We thanked him for the warning and decided to not do the hike. Greg HATES yellow jackets and I’m no fan of them either. After consulting our map we decided to head back to the Indian Heaven Wilderness again, this time doing the Sawtooth Mountain loop at the very north end of the wilderness, which neither of us had hiked before.
We parked at the Sawtooth Trailhead, where the PCT crosses Road 24, and started hiking south:
The first part was pretty open and sun-exposed and the huckleberries along this stretch were beautiful with fall color:
Soon we were in the forest:
With occasional patches of color:
We passed the wilderness boundary:
At 1.2 mile we reached the junction with the Sawtooth Mountain Trail and turned onto it off the PCT:
The trail climbed up through the forest. This used to be the route of the PCT, going up and over Sawtooth Mountain. But at some point a new stretch was constructed lower down. We reached a spot with a nice view of Mt. Adams:
And Steamboat Mountain:
We got a glimpse of Mt. St. Helens:
We also spotted fire to the west. It looked to me like it was coming from the Siouxon Creek area, which is a popular place to hike and camp. I predicated that the fire was started by an abandoned campfire. Later we would learn this was the Siouxon Fire and that it was indeed started by an abandoned campfire. During a fire ban.
The trail doesn’t go up and over the craggy summit, but comes close. We spotted a scramble trail heading up there, but also spotted yellow jackets so we passed it up:
A view of Lone Peak to the west:
There’s a nice rocky viewpoint to the right of the trail, but it’s not big and was already occupied, so we kept hiking:
Mt. St. Helens again:
We passed a different scramble trail and this one we decided to check out:
It took us to the base of the craggy rocks:
Nice view of Mt. Adams up here:
There was a strong east wind so we sough protection behind the rocks:
Out of the wind the sun was actually quite warm. So we didn’t linger long after our break. We returned back to the main trail and continued on the loop:
We got a view of Lemei Rock, Mt. Hood, and Bird Mountain:
Looking back at Sawtooth Mountain and Mt. Adams:
Close-up of Sawtooth Mountain:
We re-entered the forest, hooked back up with the PCT and headed north back towards the trailhead. Cool fungus:
Lots of shade on the PCT here:
This turned out to be a nice pleasant hike. Some fall color, some new views.
Gaia stats: 5.7 miles, 940′ elevation gain