Hobart Bluff (5,502 feet) is a short hike in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument to big views of the Bear Creek Valley, Pilot Rock, Mount Ashland, and (on a clear day) Mount Shasta. It’s wildly popular and features prominently in numerous guidebooks, tourist brochures, and trail websites. The obvious use trail to the Bluff has even earned its own signed junction with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Meanwhile, Hobart Peak, its 40-foot higher (5,542 feet) neighbor just a half-mile to the southwest, apparently languishes in obscurity. The Peak didn’t stick in my mind until it was about the only thing I could see on a Bluff hike during this summer’s repeat smoke-fest. Its top looked devoid of trees and thus (perhaps) open to views. I conjured-up an obligation to rescue it from obscurity once the smoke cleared. Today’s excellent hiking weather was the only excuse I needed to give Hobart Peak the 15-minutes of fame it may (or may not) be yearning for!
To make this quest more of a hike (and to get the most of this bluebird day), I parked at Green Springs Summit and hiked south on the PCT toward the peak.
Although it doesn’t offer much in the way of views, this stretch of the PCT is easy walking as it weaves gently up and down through bits of forest and across large, open meadows – now gone golden by this last day of summer.
I passed the turn-off to the Bluff and continued down the PCT to the saddle between the Bluff and the Peak – a seemingly popular camping spot, despite the lack of water, for thru-hikers. From here, it was a pretty minimal bushwhack up the Peak’s northeast ridge to the open meadow that covers its summit. The views were all that I could have hoped for – certainly equal to those from the Bluff and possibly a bit more so. The one odd thing about the summit was the large, 6-foot deep prospect hole someone had dug in it in ages past (hard to say when since this area wasn’t mapped in detail until 1955).
I got off of Hobart Peak by going straight down its southeast side to intersect the PCT. This was mostly open meadow and forest and (predictably) much easier than whacking up the northeast ridge. I was going to snub the Bluff on the way back – out of loyalty to the Peak – but was too weak, and ended-up climbing the Bluff too. You can – if the atmosphere cooperates – usually see Mount Shasta from the Bluff, but not from the Peak. Today my eyes could just make out Shasta from the Bluff but the haze, high clouds, and sun angle made getting a snapshot of Shasta futile.
As a testament to the Bluff’s popularity, I saw six people on its summit (and talked to one person, Hans, at length) and passed two more on the way up as I was going out. And it’s not the weekend yet! On the way back, I saw Fall coming not only in the golden grasses but also in the splotches of now more colorful leaves scattered here and there in the forest.
All in all, a superb hike (8.7 miles round-trip; 1,800 feet of elevation gain) on a perfect weather day to two great viewpoints in the Monument and along the PCT!