Thursday, July 30, 2022
On our way to stay at the Drake Peak Lookout we stopped and did the hike up Hager Mountain.
It would be a 6.5 mile drive from our home to Drake Peak (see blog post). So we got up at the insane hour of 4am so we would have time to do the Hager Mountain hike and get to Drake Peak before sunset.
The main trailhead is on Road 28. To shorten our hike we drove up Road 012 to a sharp bend in the road where there’s an upper trailhead. The road doesn’t see much use, but it’s in decent shape:
The upper trailhead:
There’s a sign pointing the way:
After a short jaunt on the connecter trail we found ourselves on the main Hager Trail:
We started off in a ponderosa pine forest:
Soon we started seeing wildflowers. Snowbrush:
The trail emerged into a meadow where we had some views to the west. That’s Mt. Thielsen on the left:
This meadow is also where we started seeing a whole lot more wildflowers. Wow!
We reached a trail function and stayed to the right:
That’s the summit up there, right of center:
After traveling through that wildflower paradise the trail re-entered the trees for a bit, then emerged into open sagebrush territory on the upper slopes of the mountain:
And then we reached the top where the fire lookout sits. It is staffed in summer and rentable in winter, when you have to ski or snowshoe four miles up the mountain to get here. You can read more about the lookout and its history over on my lookout blog.
I met the nice woman staffing the lookout. This is her third season up here. She was kind and friendly and invited me onto the deck for a chat. Greg eventually caught up after all his photographing of the flowers and we sat and enjoyed the camaraderie and the views. Looking north:
We still had several hours of driving ahead of us so as much as it was pleasant to linger up there on the summit, we headed back down, passing through the wildflower show again:
I knew we would see wildflowers on this hike but I was pleasantly surprised at the abundance and variety. Just beautiful!
Gaia stats: 5 miles, 1,500′ elevation gain