Mountain Trail is an out and back trail to the summit or to Hayfields. This is primarily a fire road and is steep in some sections. The trail features redwoods, ferns, oaks, madrone and wild flowers.
Distance, category and difficulty: This 8 mile+ trek is rated as difficult. Expect to rise from 700 feet to 2400 feet at the summit The trail is a fire road for a good portion with ancillary trails leading off that are single track.
Trail traffic: Dogs are not allowed on leash or free anywhere on the back country trails. This steep and mostly shady trek is great for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. The trail is usually accessible year-round.
Features: Distant overlook views are found about 1.5 miles from Beauty Ranch parking lot at May's Clearing, where on most days you can see 60 miles to Mount Diablo (pictured). To enjoy a storybook hike up the mountain take Lower Lake Trail and continue on Upper Lake trail on the way up. You will pass through fairy rings of redwoods and hear Graham Creek, London's 'Wildwater Creek' he wrote about in his novel The Valley Of the Moon.
Exposure: Mostly shady, poison oak, ticks, and mosquitos. Be aware that mountain lions have been sighted in the area sporadically. Mosquitos are prevalent from early spring until late June.
Hiking time: 5 hours
More options: Bay Area Ridge Trail and Hayfields Trails also connect to Mountain and offer distant and different views than seen at the summit. Refer to map to plan your trek. There are ancillary trails leading to the other back country hikes to the Orchard and the Ancient Redwood but trail markers are temporary at this time.