Mt. Lawlor to Vetter Mtn. Lookout
So far, this was the funnest hike I’ve been on yet. The plan was to start at Red Box, take the ridge up to the saddle and then take the steep incline up to Mt. Lawlor. From there we would take the ridge to Barley Flats and try to make our way down another ridge toward the ridge up to Vetter Mtn. Lookout.
Due to distance and time constraints, we decided on a car shuttle. We took the 3 cars all the way up to Vetter, left 2 there, and then made our way back to Red Box.
At Red Box, we decided to bypass the trail altogether and take the ridge directly across the highway. This made for a steep jaunt up which had my heart racing at the top. So much for a warmup.
Once at the telephone poles, take the ridge all the way until the saddle. Once there, you’re greeted with a steep incline which will take you to Lawlor. Once atop Lawlor, head east. Heading west will take you down the ridge towards the Red Box, Strawberry Peak, and Colby Canyon trail junction.
The video above is us at the saddle getting ready for the climb up.
After Lawlor, we headed east along the ridge. There was still snow here, sometimes about 1-2 feet deep. Our group was the first one up here, so aside from the bear or cougar tracks, we were the first ones up here. There was some remnants of an old trail, but at one point we lost our way and tried to head out through some very thick brush. But at this juncture, some bushes had tied strips of plastic ribbon that we found a little too late. Just follow this ridge until you get to the water tank.
After the water tank, the old military complex is still there. Follow the gate along the north side. There’s an old path which wraps around the complex and ends at the road.
Once at the gate, take the road for about 50 paces and stick to the north side of it. From here there’s a well work trail going down. We decided to not take the ridge down, but instead just to follow the trail for 2.6 miles until it ends at Alder Creek.
Once off the trail, we took the road south until we came across the a fire road on the left.
We stuck to this road until we came across access to the ridge upwards. This ridge has 3 high voltage towers on it.
Just follow the ridge towards Vetter Mountain. You can see the structure clearly against the top. The trail is worn, but some of the yucca has been cut away along the path.
From the start of the ridge to the top took us about 90 minutes. The beginning portion is pretty steep, but the incline evens out a bit in the middle which gives you a respite from the rest of the climb. The station was locked up. I guess there’s no need for it to be open in the weather we were in.
The rest of the way down to the cars was easy. From this point on though, there was considerably more snow along the path. But we slogged our way back towards the parking lot. At the bbq stations, families were gathered around fires or just cooking up some soup while their kids sledded and enjoyed the snow.
Like I said above, this was the best hike I’ve done yet. Definitely a winter or spring only hike since the paths we took was pretty much shadeless. But the views all around were great.
Full photo gallery here.
Our intended path here.
The batteries on the GPS died out a little after reaching Vetter. It’s about another mile of descent to the cars from Vetter. So taken together, this hike totaled roughly 12 miles with a gain of ~4300′. That was much more than expected.
This entry was posted on Sunday, January 4th, 2009 at 2:31 pm and is filed under Trail Information, Trip Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.