Johnson Ridge to Scorpion Mtn (Jun 20, 2015)

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johnson_ridge_coverConditions: Day hike
Gear: nothing special
Map: USGS Captain Point
Area: Skykomish
Reference: Day Hiking Central Cascades
Stats: 8.67mi, 2771' gain (round trip)

I originally was thinking of heading back up to Baker for an overnight....but I changed plans. I wanted to head someplace new. Well more like some place so old (to me) that it felt new. I was out Johnson Ridge many years ago, so long ago I don't even recall exactly when. But, it was when there was still some snow along the route and it was long before the area became part of the Wild Sky Wilderness...

I like early starts, especially on more well know trails. I usually have the place to myself in the morning and I have the turnaround spot to myself for quite some time before others arrive. It was looking like this pattern would repeat. It's a bit of a convoluted drive to the Johnson Ridge TH (off Beckler River Rd) but I arrived to find myself the only car there. Thankfully the road was Jetta friendly. As I was getting my gear settled, one other car (two hikers) arrived. They took off up the trail a few minutes before I did.

The first mile (give or take) of the "trail" is old road. It's a bit gravelly/rocky but not bad. Then near where the older road ends the trail takes off uphill. For the most part the trail stays right on the ridge. There are really no notable switchbacks on the trail. The trail also is mostly in the trees. I was hoping for more open meadows but I was thankful to just be out. The trail is a bit on the steeper side but nothing too steep.

The trail heads right up and over the treed summit of Sunrise Mtn. I didn't even stop to take a look, there are no views. Instead, I just continued on along the ridge trail. About 1/2 mile from Scorpion the trail finally opens up and stays open. Lots and lots of wildflowers blooming. The hillsides are full of color right now. I think I timed this trip right at about peak for the flowers. The trail continues along the ridge, stays just to the south and below the top of Scorpion, and then there is one, yes one, switchback to the east of Scorpion. It is an open walk up to the top. It is here that I found the two hikes who had left just before me. They were packing up and getting ready to leave. I now had the summit area to myself. Lots and lots of views to the south (Rainier), to the east (Mt Stuart) and to the north (Columbia, Keyes, Sloan, Glacier Peak). I dropped my pack, had a quick snack, took some time for quiet reflection, and then headed back down. Car to summit was about 2.5 hours.

As I was saying...I like early starts. That came in handy today. I counted 22 hikers heading up on my way down. The parking area was also full with cars parked down the road.
Johnson Ridge Slideshow


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Copyright 2013 Janet M. Putz
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