October 23rd 2009 SMB Forum Bald Mountain Trip report.

(See part one for the trip overview)

(Click on smaller images to enlarge)

On Friday a few of us decided to take a trip up to Bald Mountain Lookout. We headed out of Sample Meadow Campground fairly late but I figured we would have plenty of time to finish the route before dark. Andrew and Jacques teamed up with Charlie for the run.

Bald Mtn 1

Heading towards the hill we stopped at Kaiser Pass Road where we made some trail changes. Because Shaver is 1.5 hours away from Sample, Craig and Cindy decided to fuel up so they had enough for the rest of the week.

Bald Mtn 2Originally I wanted to take forest service road (9) to the trailhead and return through Shaver for fuel, but I didn’t know when the gas-mart closed for the night, so better safe than sorry. There is fuel at Huntington Lake but it’s pricy so Shaver is the best place to fill up.


From 168 it’s only about 7 miles on Dinkey Creek road to the Rock Creek Road turnoff (9S09). This is also posted Forest Service Road (9). Turning left (north) and driving around 3.5 miles up the road takes you to the trailhead. There are several places to boon dock off Rock Creek Road but you have to deal with traffic noise for the most part.



Bald Mtn 4The OHV route is a fairly easy run but is still challenging. We all pulled our disconnect bars and aired down just before the turnoff. A sign shows the trailhead access point.




I ran this trail a few years back but I did the same thing as before, and that was to take the right fork just beyond the start of the trail. I told the rest of the group to hang while Don and I drove to check it out.

Bald Mtn 5It wasn’t too long before I realized we were on the more difficult path to the summit. When I took the right trail before, I gave up and turned back. One of these times I want to try this route while being accompanied by another vehicle, but this day we were short on time.

On this trip I just wanted to get up the mountain via the same route that I’d done before.


Once back with the group we started out.

Bald Mtn 6 Bald Mtn 7

Bald Mtn 8

The trail starts out easy and soon begins its fairly steep climb. With an altitude at the trailhead of 5,700 feet and the summit peaking out about 7,800 feet, we would climb 2,100 feet during the three mile long trail.


Bald Mtn 9

There are only a couple of sections that need a spotter. Not too far into the trail is the first more difficult section where we had to negotiate a 2-3 foot ledge along with several large rocks. It was time to get out of the vehicle for a bit of assisting and photography.

Bald Mtn 10


Bald Mtn 12.

Bald Mtn 13.

Bald Mtn 14.

Bald Mtn 15.




Most of the trail is fairly easy to follow and has visible markers indicating you’re on an OHV trail, but in some spots the sections that cross over smooth granite can be difficult to see. The scenery was spectacular as we drove over several hill tops. Soon we would come to the most difficult section of the trail. It’s also the most changeling part of the run.


This spot is where long wheel based vehicles like our vans have to be careful not to high center. I came close to ripping off my water drain valves.




Bald Mtn 19.

The main problem on this part of the trail is seeing over the vehicles hood. It’s also off camber on the other side of the crest and if your tire placement is poor, the angle can be as much as 28 degrees. At one point I had to back up and re-negotiate the drop. Don was busy spotting me rather than taking multiple pictures. Sometimes you have to have to worry about the vehicle more than a picture. At least he was able to get off a few shots including this one above showing Craig coming over the hill.



As we got closer to the top it became more like driving without a visible trail. There were rock cairns all over the place which just adds confusion to the actual path, so I had to just look for the best way up, and like the year before I knew I was off the trail at times. This section and the rest of the trail to the top slightly chewed up my tires.

Bald Mtn 23.

Here the name Bald Mountain gains merit. The tree line is sparse and it’s solid granite rock for the most part.


We finally pulled over for another photo opt and to check out the rigs. After a quick break we headed off on the final section of the trail and the summit.

From here on, the trail was all rock and other than having to stair step over small ledges, most of the route was fairly easy to negotiate.



Bald Mtn 30. 

Bald Mtn 31. SONY DSC

After reaching the fire lookout, we all got our cameras out.


The summit provides a great view and would be a nice place to set up a telescope.



Bald Mtn  36.1 Lookout




The Bald Mountain Lookout has been closed for several years but still stands. (Note: there is another Bald Mountain Lookout that is still active located in California)









The view was impressive even though there was quite a bit of haze



The last time I was up there, the summit was clouded over. This time we were able to see the surrounding area and Shaver Lake below.






The lookout is closed off but you can climb up there as long as you’re careful.


We all took a break, kicked back and grabbed something to eat. I finished taking a few more pictures of the area.






It had taken a couple of hours to make it to the lookout and time was getting short. I felt that we should have left out of camp about an hour earlier to gain some extra time on the trail but once we all made the summit, I knew heading down the hill would go quicker than the time it takes to get to the top; it always does for some reason. One of these days I want to boon dock up there. We all packed up and left the lookout behind us.

We were able to get some good shots of the more difficult sections which looked more impressive on the way out.




Soon we came to the second more difficult section of the trail. Dropping down this part is slightly tougher than climbing up it. Whoops, I dragged my tail end but no damage. We just took it wrong. I don’t know how the other two vans did. I tried it without a spotter…Oh well.

Andrew spotted the rest of the group.


This was probably one of the most classic shots of the whole trip. All of us were having a great time and it showed here in the picture above.



Back at the trailhead, we aired up and left out through Forest Service Road  (9)  which leads to Huntington Lake. This route is nice in itself but being we were pressed for time nobody took any pictures. It was dusk by the time we returned to Sample Meadow but we had a good story to tell the rest of the group who had a nice fire going by the time we rolled in.


I really enjoyed the run. It sure feels better while driving in a group. There are several spots to boon dock along this trail and at the right time of year you might find a small stream flowing that was dry when we crossed it. Camping at the summit would be great provided the weather cooperates and there’s no lightning.

The next day we would head back into Bear Diversion Dam. It is another OHV trail but not near as challenging as the Bald Mountain Run. (See the post on this site: Bear Diversion Run).

Thanks to all who participated.

Dave Boyer


For an overview of the trip please see Part one:

2009 Sportsmobile Forum Group Meet Part I

Also see the remaining daily posts:

2009 Sportsmobile Forum Group Meet Part II