See trip report.
the early snowmelt had me thinking that we could access the trailhead- we did drive through a little snow and had to stop a quarter mile short of the lower trailhead. The trail was in pretty good shape and the upper slopes were mainly on snow. Great views of the Seven Devils and also across the valley toward Patrick Butte.
Originally intended to hike up Cuddy Mountain but the roads were washed out, so I tried Council Mountain only to find the same situation. Had given up and was driving home when I saw this mountain towering over the valley from highway 95 and decided to give it a go.
Used road 158 which had a tree across it about 3 miles in, which made for a 5 mile road walk before even starting up the final 3 miles of trail on the mountain. Incredible views of the 7 devils and across the canyon into the Blue Mountains of Oregon. BTW, road 158 stinks! Just one of those roads that rattles your teeth, should have started from the lower trailhead.
This was a nice fall hike. Had planned to start at the lower trail-head, but ended up driving the long road (high clearance req'd) up to Chokecherry Flat. This saved a little time and prevented me from having to hike in the dark. From there, the trail was easy to follow with the first mile winding through old growth forest and some of the larger fir trees I've seen. The next mile to Cold Springs saddle was more open with sunrise views of the New Meadows Valley and Granite Peak to the East. Scared up a grouse and a couple deer in this area. The trail is somewhat less distinct in the last stretch from the saddle to the summit, but still very easy to follow. Fog started setting in at around 7500' as the trail made its way through neat Basalt boulders on the way to the top. The summit itself was anti-climactic since the lookout was closed for the year and fog limited visibility to around 50'. Still a nice hike though. I'd left Chokecherry Flat at just after 7 am, and make it to the summit in 1:15. Poked around up there for 15 minutes then made a brisk 45 minute jaunt back to the truck. Not many good photos due to the fog, but here are a few.
For years I passed this mountain on Highway 95 and have always wanted to climb it. It turned out to be much easier than it looked with a trail all the way to the top. Its an interesting hike with good geology and several vegetation zones. The only other person I saw all day was the lookout.