The hike overview on the site must have been written a while back when the trail was still in its top shape. It needs to be updated for those who do not wish to scramble and/or bushwhack. As it stands now, the hike is not a walk in the park as the overview depicts, especially in the last paragraph.
Another late start today. I was hoping to do a peak along Suiattle River Road, but it’s still closed at mile 12 since the time we did Huckleberry Mountain nearly one year ago. Since I got a late start, I looked in the North Bend area for something I have not done with great views. Rooster Mountain seemed to be the next logical place to get some nice views. The mountain doesn’t seem to be a popular hiking destination, as I wasn’t able to find too many recent trip reports on WTA or NWHikers. The latest report on both sites was posted on June 25 of this year by the same person.
We arrived at the trailhead at the end of service road 5600. The gate before the bridge is closed, so if you can’t go any farther on 5600 you’ve arrived at the right place. The first couple of miles was rather uneventful. The real kicker started at the last trail junction (3,500’), where you would make a left onto what looked to be a trail buried under mud and water and bushwhack your way through alder and tons of stinging nettle right off the bat. That slowed us down and kept us busy for a while before we got onto the slope to make our ascend. This was also the area where insane amount of bugs showed their presence. So make sure to bring LOTS and LOTS of insect repellent to keep away those persistent, pesky creatures.
My GPS indicated that there was a “unpaved road” just beyond the alder. After scrambling through the hill for a bit, I did find what probably “used to be” an unpaved road (3,800’) but was now buried under trees, grass, blowdowns, and barely visible. We tried following it to the talus field below the summit and that didn’t get us any farther. The other option was to head straight up the hill to the ridge and then follow the ridge all the way to the summit. The second option definitely worked in our favor.
Snow level at 4,800’ and all the way up to just below the summit rocks. Only 500 feet of snow to deal with, so it wasn’t so bad. That last 25 feet of the hike was a class 2 climb up to the summit, and it was easy for the dogs to get up with some directions. Nice views to the south and the west, not so much to the east and okay to the north. The dogs and I ate some and took enough pictures before we headed back down.