ApproachSee "Getting There".
Route DescriptionTrailhead Elevation: 11100 ft
One Way Distance per my GPS: 2.25 miles
Your first objective is to reach a 11823 ft saddle between the steep slopes of Arkansas to the east and a 12100 ft hill to the west. The area directly above the parking is covered by a Pine forest and dense bushes. Look for a break in the bushes as follows:
At the parking area, head south and go up the slopes only 10 ft or so to reach a one lane dirt road (that is covered by black gravel, as in a railroad bed). Turn west and follow this road a short distance until it reaches an abandoned train track. Continue west on the tracks until a stream approaches the tracks from the left. Leave the tracks and follow the stream south to reach a meadow.
Hike up the meadow all the way to the 11823 ft saddle. You will encounter a few beaver ponds and areas of dense willow bushes. You need to whack your way through and around these obstacles. This is generally not too difficult. You may want to hug the margin of the Pine forest to the left. During snow melt-off, I suspect that this whole meadow may become a large mud hole.
At the 11823 ft saddle you can look up the steep slopes of Arkansas to the east. You will not see the true or the false summit. You can only see a ridgeline above. Go directly up the steep slopes. At around 12500 ft, boulders come to cover the slopes. These are stable and fun to hop amongst.
At around 13000 ft, you will near the top of a ridgeline and the false summit of Arkansas will come into view. You will need to do some class II & class III scrambling among the boulders and up a small "step" until you reach the top of the ridgeline where you will see a narrow flat ledge that leads you to the false summit (as soon as I saw this ledge, I called it "Arkansas Freeway", you will know why when you see it).
Once on top of the false summit, you will see another ridgeline that leads to the true summit. This ridgeline seems unstable and takes you to the top of a couple of spires. Descend 50 or so ft to the west and hike south on top of the western scree slopes until you go past the spires. You can then easily access the true summit.