Started at 7 am on Saturday and was glad I did. By the time I got back down to the car in the late morning, I certainly would not have wanted to be heading the other way up the trail in the relative heat.
The trail, but for the switchbacks just above the toilets and the last push to the top after the 5 mile marker is wide and easy to follow. There are sections that have more loose rock and ruts than others, but the trail is wide enough there always seemed to be a flat-ish, compacted section to take.
As many have said, the trail back is quite challenging, unlike many in the area. Those same steep ascents on the way out become knee jarring descents on the way back. I STRONGLY recommend trekking poles to distribute the load.
Enjoy the beautiful views and if you hike in the early morning, your shortened sleep will be rewarded with some amazing views of mist and clouds rolling over the surrounding hills and valleys!!!
I have hiked many trails in the county; EC Mt. is the most difficult. It is uphill both ways and more trail erosion after the recent rains has made it even more slippery and difficult to maneuver --Bring trekking polls and wear a good pair of hiking boots! That said, it is also very beautiful--and I love the bouldering toward the summit.
This was a fantastic workout. A couple of uphill stretches seemed like they'd never end, and it helps to be part billy goat for this one. I recommend hiking shoes with good grip! You will thank me on the downhill stretches. The views were excellent and the trail was very serene. Not crowded but plenty of friendly, serious athletes out there. The summit was perfect for lunch. I left at 7:45 when it was still cool out, and made it back to the parking lot in just under five hours. Nice bathroom at the base just above the parking lot.
So far the hardest trail I have ever done. It's relentless, endless, steep, up and down so coming back is also tough. Thankfully, the views are incredibly rewarding. Just make sure to arrive no later than 11. They parking lot locks the gate at 5pm sharp and the hike is long. It took me five hours which included probably about 15 minutes of eating and relaxing at the top. It's tough but overall worth it if you are in the shape. Also a lot of people were also going up that day and none of the other people actually went to the top so do not underestimate this hike.
Brutal. Unforgiving. Gorgeous. All words I would apply to this trail. I brought about 50oz of water and boy, that was a mistake. Bring a camelbak or something. Lots of ups and downs. Certainly like life. Would have liked hiking poles for my return trip.
This is work. The geocaches and benchmarks and views are worth it, but it is work. The downhill parts beat up my knee and toes. It took over 9 hours round trip for our small group. It was worth it, and a reminder that I need to condition a bit to take on bigger hikes. I went for the summit and didn't go to the cliff on this one. Maybe next time.