Take Hwy 550 south 9.0 miles to Ironton Park, the flat area above the switchbacks, where you get your first glimpse of the Red Mountains. Parking: Park at the first open area on the left side of the highway, before the rock building is reached. The trailhead is by the gate at the Crystal Lake dam.
ATTRACTIONS AND FEATURES:
The trail makes several switchbacks up to the first ledge above the Ironton valley. From there, it continues north to a creek bed. The trail switchbacks up the left side of the creek until it reaches the high ridge, 12,000 feet, at approximately 3.6 miles and ties in with the trail from the Camp Bird side. There are beautiful views in all directions. It is another 2.2 miles on to the trailhead off Forest Service Road #896 (access from CR 361/Camp Bird Rd). If you choose to climb to the summit of Hayden Peak, be sure to allow an extra 1.5 hours from the saddle and refer to a good guide book and map to navigate this difficult route.
The trail is steep. Careful route-finding is needed through waist-high plants in several areas. Going south from the saddle (from Camp Bird side) or north from the high ridge (from Ironton side) leads to open slopes with exposure to the weather and some treacherous footing.
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