We made a modest donation to the Soda Mountain Wilderness Council and they sent us a newsletter, which, among other things, listed four off-beat hikes in the Monument and Soda Mountain Wilderness. We’d done three of the four but the fourth, a loop past Green Mountain (not to be confused with Green Springs Mountain) from the road to Boccard Point, was new to us. It looked like a 4 mile (6.4 km) loop that would fit neatly into the pleasant morning of a day forecast to end with clouds, wind, and rain (which it did 😀).
The old road we’d be following past Green Mountain departs from Baldy Creek Road about 4.1 mi (6.5 km) from its junction with Tyler Creek Road. The old road is blocked by a heavy yellow gate – which you can’t see from Baldy Creek Road – so this particular junction is easy to miss.
About 0.2 miles (0.3 km) from the gate, we came to a large, grassy meadow where the road splits and the loop starts. We decided to go counter-clockwise because that would give us a more gentle ascent on the return. We weren’t getting all sweaty and aerobic on this hike. 🥱 The old road was clear up to the meadow but got progressively more cluttered with small fallen trees and encroaching growth as we descended along Baldy Creek.
The old road followed along above the creek for a short distance, then turned west, crossed an unnamed (and dry) tributary of Baldy Creek, and began a gentle climb up toward Green Mountain.
At a little over 2 miles (3.2 km) from the yellow gate, we were on the road just below the summit of Green Mountain. Here we left the road and ascended through some big meadows and small plots of forest to Green’s viewless summit. We didn’t stay long here lest we be overcome by the excitement of all this viewlessness. 🙄
Past the summit, the road was in good condition and ran almost level all the way back to the big meadow where we’d started the loop. The highlight of this section were the views we got of Little Pilot Rock (not to be confused with Little Pilot Peak). The Rock is an impressive monolith of basalt with sheer cliffs on its western side and a moderate scramble to the top on its uphill side. The views from there are spectacular.
This stroll came to just 3.6 miles (5.8 km), with a leisurely 500 feet (152 m) of elevation gain. It proved to be a nice way to see another little bit of the Monument that we might otherwise have overlooked. We passed some big meadows that, although past their prime now what with the drought and the onset of summer, must be wildflower-rich a little earlier in the year. Up here Baldy Creek is incised in a deep ravine but has some charming micro-waterfalls if you’re willing to climb down to see them. We were done in time for restorative sustenance 🍔 at Caldera Brewing in Ashland. Our hike had been under sunny skies, as was our outdoor lunch. The clouds built as we headed home and by early evening gifted us another splash of welcome rain. So, overall, a 10 for 10 day. 😁