Ted G. on Morena Butte Trail
Yesterday, we kike this challenging and thrilling trail; the famous Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and Morena Butte Trail. The PCT leading up to the Morena Butte was steady, but once we started trekking up the Morena Butte Trail, the category changed to hard. It was steep all the way up. But before we started the Morena Butte Trail, we were honored to bump into an 18-year kid, Tanner M., fresh out of high school and completing the last section of the PCT to Mexico Border from Canada. Back to the trail, bushwhacking and a boulder maneuvering, and trail markers really helped to get our bearings towards the top and peak log. We were excited to locate and sign the peak log. Total hiking mileage was 10-plus mileage, bot 5.4 miles as stated in the summary.
Nice little falls here in SD, when the water is running. Started at Boulder Oaks camp and went up to Kitchen Creek. Decent to the Falls themselves is a bit sketchy, but doable. Feb, had a nice stream of water over the rocks. Area is prone to rattlesnakes and other wildlife so just be aware.
This was a very challenging trail for me. I followed David's ribbons and some stacked rocks along the trail when you start going up. The picture that shows a small tree truck with bushes and dried grass that is what I put as a marker to start heading up from the service road. You will have to jump over some tree trunks, whack some bushes and step on some long dry wheats. Make sure you are fully covered with long pants and a long sleeve shirt because you will get a lot of the dry leafs all over you. You will get to a nice view that will over see the lake, BUT that is NOT the peak. Keep going left for another mile. The peak is where you will see this flat huge rock with an amazing view overlooking mountain peaks. Bring lots of water and snacks. Good luck and enjoy.
The cut off for the summit is quite overgrown and difficult to navigate. The route to the top requires some boulder hopping and a little scrambling. 3 summits for the price of one. The track I uploaded has the whole hike. Follow the ducks and the orange ribbon in the trees.
It's a nice hike with most of the trail clear cut. Although it does get narrow with some low lying overgrowth. A small amount of rock hopping to get to where the falls would, but not much water flowing this time if year.
It got very warm in spots where there was no breeze, so remember to bring plenty of water. Went through 2L of water by the time i got back to the parking area.
Will come back in the early Spring to check out the falls.