Follow the directions for the 8$ Road Hike, only keep going past the parking area. Continue another 1.7 miles to the Green Bridge that crossed the Illinois River. There is a parking area and a vault toilet on the east side of the bridge. Park here. Elevation is about 1,200 ft.
The route to the summit is cross country. Cross the road and head northeast directly towards the summit. The summit is only 1.8 miles away, but you have to gain 2,800 ft. There is no trail but near the summit at 3,200 ft you should find a wide fire break that leads to the summit. It is shown as a 4WD track on the topo, but it looks to be enhanced and is easy to walk on once you find it. The views are great as you hike. Be careful of the occasional poison oak patch and loose rocks. A compass or GPS may be handy in keeping you on track, but on a clear day the route is obvious and you can see the Green Bridge for a long time.
On the summit you will see 2 newer large metal buildings side by side. I think the highpoint is near these buildings. I walked around both sides of the buildings and touched all the small boulders that had been pushed out of the way during the construction of the buildings. Don’t mess with any of the equipment up here. I’m sure there are surveillance cameras somewhere.
This is a steep hike. It took me nearly 4 hours to hike this round trip. After returning to your car, jump into the river to cool off, or throw a line in and try your luck for steelhead or salmon in season.
The 10 essentials are always required. Take enough water as there is none on the route. In the summer, this hike can be quite warm, take a hat, sun glasses, and sun screen. You should have a compass or GPS to direct you straight to the summit. It isn’t confusing, just keep climbing until you reach the top. There is a cell phone relay tower on the summit so your cell phone should work any where on the route.
"How do you distinguish between being off-route and putting up a first ascent?"