This route combines trails and use paths, plus a little bushwhacking and easy Class 2+ scampering, to reach a rocky, open summit serving up fantastic views. Successfully navigating to the summit requires a little “connect the dots” of these various paths, plus comfort with off-trail scampering, but otherwise this is a relatively straightforward outing.
Roundtrip Distance: 5.5 miles
NET Elevation Gain: 1,700 feet
YDS Class: 2+Bushwhack Rating: B1
· Carefully cross the road to the southwest and begin hiking on an old road bed. You may notice in passing an old stone gatepost.
· The old trail heads first west / west-northwest up a drainage, then the drainage turns to the southwest.
· The trail seems to dead-end in this little valley, but if you look carefully, you may notice a faint footpath heading up the sandy hill. The trail in this area is not well-defined.
· Trend southward up a gentle drainage, and the trail again becomes more defined.
· Crest a gentle ridge where two social trails converge. Head to the right (south).
· The trail soon descends in a slow, traversing fashion into another drainage.
· Down in this wooded valley you will again encounter more social trails that may / may not be indicated on your map.
· Climbing out of this drainage, the footpath what appears to be a decommissioned roadbed (#331).
· Cruise briefly along a small, scenic ridge before beginning the switchbacks that take you to the southern slopes of Crystal Benchmark.
· Contour along the southern slopes of the peak for roughly one mile before selecting a spot to leave the trail and ascend the steepish southern slopes.
· Initially, you will encounter moderate bushwhacking and some rocks. Soon, the trees end and you will find yourself at the base of a rocky jumble of boulders. Ascend these (steep Class 2+)
to the summit.