Summited today with about 4 feet of snow and no signage. I ended up doing the full loop going through jawbone flats to battle ax creek. The fording the creek and heading up the east end of the Whetstone Mountain Trail. This side of the trail was very difficult to follow in the snow and gps was required.
Hiked up the trail from the west. Love to see the big trees throughout. Saw a Hermit thrush. The Rhody's are still in bloom, and luckily this time we didn't hit any snow. Summit is a nice spot, but could just barely make out Hood through the clouds.
Tried to get to the Trail #546 trailhead by both the 7020 and 7030 routes and was blocked by snow two miles from the trail head both ways. I walked in from the snowline on 7030. Snow was 4-6 feet deep in the flatter old growth area and 0-3 feet deep along the 3369 trail. Great view at the top! This route will likely increase in danger as the snow thins and the snow bridges become less stable, but it is certainly a beautiful place to visit right now.
After walking my son back to the cabins (not feeling well a ways into this hike), I was able to run/walk -even jump over a snake to catch up to the group we had originally started out with. Thought this was going to be a solo hike, until I reached the rock summit, where everyone was having a snack and enjoying the great views! Wonderful weekend!
Colleen, some family members, and I rented a cabin in the old mining town of Jawbone flats off road #2209. After a great thunder & lightning show the night before we headed west from Jawbone, caught the #3369 trail north-northeast to the summit. Overcast with some sun breaks. Jeff. was socked in but could see most of the surrounding area short peaks. Continued east on #3369 for a mile plus then cut down to Battle Ax creek and back into town for an ice cold quenching dip in Opal Pool. Good conditioner hike. 12 plus mile loop. (+4100' / -4050') Little views from trail. Awesome views from the summit. If you like trees and no stumps, this hike is for you.
4/25/04 Longer day than I had thought. Slept in and didn't hit the road until about 8:20 am. Started from the trailhead about 10:40 am. Kind of overgrown for the first couple miles. Hit snow about 4000 feet or so. Neat rock outcropping just below the summit.
Snow got deep near the summit and I just went straight up once I lost the trail. Ended up doing some third class scrambling up the summit block on rock for about the final 40 feet or so. I'm sure there is an easy trail somewhere under the snow though.
On the return I scrambled out onto the outcropping. Back to the trailhead by 5:30.
5/23/10 with Karl. Up Trail 3369, down the other side to Jawbone Flats. Had to hike upcreek a ways to rock hop a creek, then straddle and shuffle a big fir across Battle Axe Creek. Bushwhacked up the other side to find the trail again. About a 17 mile day with 4100+ feet of elevation gain. No views, lots of snow up top and it snowed on us for a while.
5/1/16 I seem to like to do this one early spring for some reason. With Luna. Just did the up and back on the Gold Creek Trail. Only one snow patch at top. Warm day in the 80's. Beautiful views from Hood to the Sisters. Prosciutto-wrapped figs for lunch on the summit. Tons of people at the trailhead, I assume all going to Jawbone Flats by the looks of their sloppy, fat bellies with cigarettes dangling from their mouths wearing wife-beater shirts (and lack of them on the mountain trail). Must be Salem's finest. The gravel road in was not in good shape either. Worst I've ever seen it. Needs some pothole-filling soon.
September 24, 2003 - A pretty short easy climb on a clear hot day via trail #546. could see from hood to South Sister and a little further. awesome view of jefferson to the east. there was some interesting foliage in a few parts of the trail and also in some of the clearcut areas. It was a pretty fun fall hike, especially the old growth portion of the trail.
August 16, 2004 - I did this after hiking Henline Mountain, and by the time i summited I was tired as hell. Views were mediocre due to clouds and haze, I returned via Battle ax creek and Jawbone Flats, which was actually the highlight of my day, since I like history type stuff. I hiked over 20 miles this day and gained a cumulative 6000 feet elevation. I would like to check out the Opal creek area further sometime when I have more time.
May 28, 2007 Did trail #546 with Jen and Dosha. lots of blowdown and still quite a few snow patches on the trail. great view at the top though!
Very nice hike with annaleiserabinek on a beautiful September day. Didn't see another person on the trail, or mountain all day. Great views of the old Western Cascades and High Cascades alike. One of my favorite wilderness areas in the state. Highly recomended hike.
A lovely day for a hike, not too hot and not too cold. We had the summit and trail to ourselves which was very nice considering there were about 20 cars in the parking lot (Whetstone shares a parking lot with the Opal Creek trail which seemed to be a hot spot that day). The trail is beautiful. The recent rain caused an early part of the trail to fall victim to some serious runoff making for sloshy travel. After this the trail gets a little steep and very switch-backy. There have got to be at least 20+ switchbacks no longer than 100 feet each. Plenty of flora you can't miss, mostly because its grown over the trail. I'll bet when the Rhodies are in bloom its a gorgeous trail. They are everywhere!!! The summit is a nice rock outcropping with a steep fall to the NE. Good views of Mt. Jefferson, Battle Ax, in the distance the Three Sisters, and Hood to the north. I'm a sucker for a good view of a valley, and you get one here, down the Little North Santiam all the way out to Mary's Peak in the coast range. Very nice.
Take your kids, take your dog, pack a lunch and have a good hike.