Bolt Mountain 2-25-22

Photos by Sunny

I scratched my head as to finding the TH from the picnic area parking lot. It had been 5 years or so and things had changed. In the interim, a "nature loop" had been built which consisted of a nice wide trail looping up the hill heading down river and coming back down. I suspected the Bolt Mountain would head to the right off this trail but I was wrong. Eventually we came to a T junction, one way heading left and back to Fish Hatchery Park and the other following the river. It looked like a pleasant river trail so we did a mile or so until we came to the end at a No Trespassing sign. There were some fine views. 

So we retraced our steps looking for the Bolt Mountain Trail. Fortunately we came upon a chap we had talked with at the parking area and I suppressed the male trait of never asking directions. It was just as well because later we discovered the two trails never intersect. He told us to bushwhack 100 yards up the hill and look for a bench that was on the right trail. This we did in the finest spirit of Dan Stubblefield, and there it was. This part of the Bolt Mountain Trail had been upgraded and off we went at a good clip. We climbed and climbed, a few times thinking we were close, when we were not. Finally we arrived in the sun with a balmy temperature after being cold at the start. The views were much better than I had remembered. 

We headed down after a nice break and were curious as to where the TH was. Near the end I recognised where we were. Years ago we had used the same TH. You leave from the upper dirt parking area. You go along a lane and it turns left and soon after you cross a stream. Follow the trail no matter how obscure it seems, until it becomes a wide lane. Soon after you come to a small sign, which tells you nothing useful, but it is at the intersection of a small trail to the right. That tiny trail is the Bolt Mountain Trail and it will widen later and take you to the top. Signage is largely non-existent and the BLM map isn't of much use. . 

We all enjoyed our day and the climb was 1,200 feet. With the river portion we did about 7.5 miles. Most of us stopped at Boomtown. Note: It is about 5 minutes longer using Highway 238 instead of the I5 coming back. If you set your GPS for Jacksonville it will show you a shortcut to Highway 238. 

Ashland Hiking Home

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