OverviewThe New Round Mountain Trail is an informal name given to a more direct eastern approach route for Round Mountain than the old standard East Route (or what Fred Beckey called the Southeast Route). Either option is possible, and ultimately both routes intersect to form one main trail.
Like the old standard East Route, the New Round Mountain Trail begins along FS-1850. The trail is unofficial and unmaintained, yet fairly easy to follow. Much of that is due to many ribbons/flags tied to trees along the route, which has in turn made the route much more well-trodden and well-defined in many places.
Route DescriptionThe New Round Mountain Trail begins at the tall old fir tree (~3400' elevation) located 0.2 miles along FS-1850, about 20' west of the road.
1) Follow the trail west up brushy slopes and lowland forest until reaching a forested saddle (~3800' elevation).
2) Once at the saddle, the trail heads south, crossing over the highpoint located immediately northeast of Coney Pass (~4150' elevation).
3) Just prior to that highpoint, the old standard East Route intersects with the New Round Mountain Trail to form one main Round Mountain Trail from that location on.
4) The trail then descends southwest to Coney Pass and side-traverses along the southeastern slopes of Round Mountain.
5) The trail reaches a basin at ~4500' elevation.
6) From the basin, begin ascending northwest along talus and heather slopes.
NOTE: There is a gentle sloped talus gully leading up towards the eastern saddle of Round Mountain. It is not recommended to ascend to that saddle, as the ridge east of Round Mountain's summit is a cliff. However, traversing halfway up the talus gully, and then side-traversing WNW to stay in talus and heather slopes until reaching the upper talus slope immediately south of the summit, can be a good option.
7) Once at the upper talus gully located south of the summit, ascend to the summit area. There is a rock cairn at the summit.
From the intersection of Highway 530 and Swede Heaven Road:
1) Drive north along Swede Heaven Road for 1.4 miles.
2) Turn right onto (unmarked) FS-18.
NOTE: For location identification purposes, Private Road 383 Ave NE is located directly across Swede Heaven Road from the entrance to FS-18.
3) Drive along FS-18 for 11.8 miles.
4) Turn left (SSW) onto FS-1850.
5) Drive 0.2 miles, until seeing a tall old fir tree standing on the right (west) side of the road, approximately 20' from the road.
6) There is enough room to park one, possibly two, vehicles on the opposite side of the road from the unofficial "trailhead". Make certain not to block road access.
Essential GearDuring periods of no snow-cover, trekking poles are recommended.
Gaiters are recommended if travelling during wet periods or through snow.
An ice axe is highly recommended, possibly required, if any of the Round Mountain slopes have snowpack.