Sunday, May 29, 2016

Stepladder Peak Loop - 5/29/16

Eastern View from Stepladder Peak

Stepladder Peak on Approach

Western View from Stepladder Peak

Hiking Up Shady Hollow Trail
 An enthusiastic small group of five hikers drove up Kyle Canyon Road in the Spring Mountains NRA for a hike around the Stepladder Peak Loop. This is a new hike for the club and has only been done once before. We began at the trailhead located on the right side of the traffic circle across from the new Visitor Center. Our trail started at the end of the parking lot that is opposite to the restrooms. The feeder trail took us up to the Shady Hollow Trail and we turned to the right.

Shady Hollow / Tin Can Alley Trails
 Not far along the trail, we came across part of a fresh kill of a deer. The leg was laying right in the middle of the trail.

Taking a Break in Tin Can Alley
 We followed the Shady Hollow Trail around until it combined with the Tin Can Alley Trail. From there, we followed the Tin Can Alley Trail into the woods along Telephone Canyon Road.

Tin Can Tree

Switchbacking Up to High Point
 We had to step aside several times for mountain bikers zooming down from the Robbers' Roost area. Our trail passed the tree that is decorated with the old tin cans then began switchbacking gently up the hill to our left. We finally found a forked trail junction which we knew to be our high point of the day. We took a sharp turn to the left and started moving back in the direction of the trailhead.

High Point Fork
 There were many large piles of debris lying around this area. Either the fire department is clearing the undergrowth or they are working on the trails in this area.

Return Direction
 As we moved along this trail, we got very close to Deer Creek Road which was just above our heads on the right side.

Small Break on Old Deer Creek Road

This section is much better.
 One particular part of the trail should be noted that it has been improved. Before, the trail was desperately trying to fall off the steep hillside. Now, the trail has been rebuilt and is much safer as seen in the photo to the left. After hiking on a short section of the old Deer Creek Road, we found the junction with the Stepladder Trail. It turns to the right. Shady Hollow turns to the left. And, an old faint trail led up the ridge in front of us to Stepladder Peak.

Following the Old Trail up to Stepladder Peak
 The old trail fades in and out but, essentially, it follows the ridge (except for a detour around a manzanita grove at a saddle) all the way to the highest point, Stepladder Peak.

Griffith Peak from Stepladder Peak Approach
 The views from this peak are unique to the Kyle Canyon area as seen in the photos at the beginning of this entry.


Starting Descent on Scree Slope
 After the peak, the route loses any sort of trail that we could find. We continued straight along the ridge and dropped down a steep scree slope. At the next saddle, we found what might be another very faint trail but, really, we ended up bushwhacking down another steep slope to the Stepladder Trail below. During our descent, there was a swarm of rescue activity in Kyle Canyon; four police cars, ambulances, fire trucks, and a helicopter. Our curiosity remains unanswered.

7 miles; 1450 feet elevation gain; 4 hours

Various Flowers seen Today

Scree Slope gets Steeper

A lot of Rescue Activity at Spring Mountains Visitor Center

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