DISTANCE
19.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
8,471 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dog friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

hiking
8 hours ago

Tough as nails. Do not underestimate.

Parked the car at Devil's Tombstone Campground where Smiley's Taxi awaited to take us to the trailhead at Prediger Road. The plan was to do Indian Head, Twin, Sugarloaf, and Plateau.

Started at 8 am and hit Indian Head first. Everyone said it would be the hardest, but this is incorrect. Read on. The ascent was challenging with several steep sections that required abandoning hiking poles and scrambling on hands and feet. Several breathtaking views await. Descent is moderate.

Next up was Twin mountain. The ascent was shorter than Indian Head's but felt more strenuous in some sections. You will hit the first (lowest) summit of Twin to great views. It's an easy hike to the second, true summit of Twin, good views here as well. The descent from Twin is pretty steep. Kind of an ass kicker. Good footwork is essential here.

Sugarloaf is next. Very steep ascent, where I saw several people I had been bumping into on previous summits start to show signs of exhaustion. The summit is short and nothing to write home about. The descent is pretty steep and will test many. I met groups at the bottom of Sugarloaf that had members call it quits here.

Without a doubt, Plateau is the true test of anyone attempting this hike. Take advantage of the "spring" during the approach to refill water bottles or refresh yourself. The ascent itself is very very challenging, perhaps even more so since it'll be the fourth and last mountain of the day. By the time I reached the summit, which is not memorable at all save for the feeling of relief, I was completely gassed out. Enjoy the flat hiking atop Plateau (~2.2 mi) and get ready for the descent down to campground, which is steep and seems endless.

All in all, a great day and a very enjoyable challenge.