Gem County High Point Trip Report

Date: July 21, 2001
Author: Ken Jones

Note: Contrary to Bob Packard's write-up from August 2000, the highest contour is 7,960 feet and the summit elevation is correct as far as I can tell.

Drive: Head north from SR 52 on a paved road (about 9 miles west of Horseshoe Bend) to the town of Ola. At the south end of town, there is a church on the right - set odometer here (0.0 mile). There is a fork at the north end of town - bear left (0.3 mile) on FR 618. The pavement ends soon. Just before FR 618 crosses Squaw Creek on a bridge (5.4 miles) bear left up Squaw Creek's valley. At 11.1 miles, FR 618 will come back in from the right - continue straight ahead. At 13.2 miles, bear right. Bear left at another junction (16.2 miles) shortly after entering national forest land - you're still on FR 618. At 21.1 miles, turn right onto FR 625. Follow this easterly and northerly to the junction (26.8 miles) of FR 646, onto which you'll turn left. You can follow this to its end (31.2 miles) in a large turnaround/parking area. However, I'd recommend that you take the uphill fork left at 30.5 miles and follow it several hundred yards to where it is closed (sign indicating no motor vehicles). You'll save some brush crashing. All roads were passenger-car passable.

Hike: Follow the closed road to its end on the west bank of Poison Creek at about 6000 feet. Cross the creek and pick up a trail on the other side. This area is heavily populated by cattle, and there are many trails. I followed what I felt was the main trail, never crossing the main creek, up to about 7200 feet. There were a number of unclear junctions and faint sections of trail; I'm not sure I could retrace my steps today. But with a map and some woods sense, you shouldn't have much trouble. I left the trail at 7200 feet and headed north, meeting the mapped trail (an ATV route) NW of point 7357 feet. From here I briefly followed the trail NW to its crest, then took off cross-country to the summit. I found Bob Packard's register there; nobody else had signed in since Bob left it nearly a year earlier.

Round trip statistics: 4 miles, 2200 feet of gain.