Aldrich Mountain Eastern Highpoint
Ingle Mountain is a north-south oriented high alpine ridge in the Aldrich Mountain Range. Several lower named peaks share this ridgeline, including Deadhorse, Cinnabar, and Ingle Rock, with Coal Pit Mountain laying across the Ingle Creek Drainage to the east. To the west is Riley Creek, a deep drainage that along with Fields Creek effectively seperates the Aldrich Mountains into thirds. Ingle Mountain, the highest point in the eastern third of the range is highlighted by forested lower slopes and a high elevation summit meadow. Much of the west face is forested by juniper and mountain mahogany while the east face has a deep canopy of pine and fir.
No trail exists to the summit of Ingle Mountain, although roads on the south face come within a mile and half of the summit. Reaching the summit ridgeline requires a short climb out of Riley Creek up to the Ingle Ridgeline, a 1.8 mile climb with 1600 feet of elevation gain. Elk and Deer are very active in this area with the remote possibility of bighorn sheep being seen (although they tend to stay in close to Aldrich Mountain further to the west).
Looking up the southwest ridge towards the summit ridgeline
Ingle Mountain is number 147 on the Oregon Prominence List with 1557 feet of prominence.
Like other peaks in the Aldrich Mountains, Ingle Mountain cannot be accessed from the north due to laying on private ranchland. The most straightforward way to reach Ingle Mountain is to turn south off of Highway 26 onto Fields Creek Road. Follow Fields Creek Road approximately 13 miles to NFD 21 (Murderer's Creek Road). Turn left and travel along the north bank of Murderer's Creek for six miles where you will see NFD 2190 on the left, a gravel road leading up into the Aldrich Mountains.
Follow NFD 2190 4.2 miles ignoring turnoffs to where you will find road 331 running up a draw on the right. Do not turn here, instead take the next immediate right after 331, an unmarked lightly maintained logging road. Follow this road keeping to the left at the only Y, until the road terminates. Find a place to park and begin the steep climb up the west face of Ingle Mountain. If hindered by car clearance, drive on down to the Riley Creek Trailhead and begin your ascent from this point. Although it is further, you can reach the summit by travelling directly east up the west ridge of Ingle Mountain.
As stated above, the north face of Aldrich Mountains are innaccesible due to laying on private property. The Aldrich Mountains are hunted quite heavily in the fall, especially this region. Although hiking with bright colors would most likely be safe, stick to hiking here the other 3 seasons of the year for safety.
Camping - When to Climb
Murderer's Creek to the south has a number of hunter camps along its bank and is a short distance from Ingle Mountain. Billy Fields campground on Fields Creek is developed with vaulted toilets. Riley Creek Trail at the western base of Ingle Mountain circumnavigates McClellan Mountains south face and connects to the old Fields Peak lookout road.
Water can be found Murderer's Creek and Fields Creek, and through most of the year in Riley Creek. Any of the streams around the Aldrich Mountains can run dry in the heat of summer, so be prepared for that possibilty. At less than 7000 feet, Ingle Mountain can be climbed whenever the roads are not snowed in which can potentially be any month of the year.
Eastern Aldrich Mountain Peaks
Several other prominent peaks can be seen along the Ingle Mountain Crest that are not featured on the website.
To the northwest is Cinnabar Mountain, where Cinnabar was once mined on the mountains northwest face. The John Day Valley and private ranchland lay below, meaning these mountains can only be accessed from the south. The point on the right in this image is the north ridge of Ingle Mountain.
East of Ingle Mountain lies Coal Pit Mountain. Many logging roads criss-cross the east face of Coal Pit which connects to Ingle via a high elevation ridge in the south. The Strawberry Mountains can be seen in the background.
Across the canyon, McClellan Mountain and the higher Aldrich Mountains. On the left is Fields Peak, a 2000 foot prominence peak, and location of a onetime lookout. The Riley Creek Trail travels from Fields Peak and around McClellan to the drainage below.