Hike Difficulty: difficult
Hike Length: 13.0 mi RT
Elevation Gain: 2703 ft
Highest Point: 8205 ft
Time: 2 hrs 41 mins up, 2 hrs 13 mins back
My Rating (out of 5): 4.5 – This hike was interesting right from the get-go. My dog had diarrhea all over the backseat just as we were pulling up to the trailhead. Literally as we were pulling in, shit broke loose. Poor sick puppy. After a little cleanup (and apologizing to my hiking companions), we took off for this beast of a hike. There were so many mosquitoes for the first 3 or 4 miles and we forgot our spray…
Jade and I had attempted to get to Aspen Butte a few months ago, but due to snow and getting off-trail, we didn’t get too far. This time, however, there was no snow to stop us from reaching our goal.
The mistake we made last time in navigation took us down an unmaintained trail that forks off to the right after the fake Clover Lake around 2.3 mi. This time veering to the left and following the now well-maintained trail, we reached the real Clover around .3 miles later and knew we were on the right track.
Around 3.3 miles in, the trail meets up with the Mountain Lakes Loop trail and we took a sharp right to make our way towards Aspen Butte. There was a little bit of descent, along with crossing some blocky lava flows. Eventually, about 5.45 mi in we turned right at an intersection that would have kept us on the loop trail and we started the final ascent up Aspen Butte. It was very loose dirt and it gained elevation pretty quickly (the last half mile was 700 ft gain!)
We finally made it to the summit and got to check out the amazing 360 degree views. We could see lots of Northern California (Shasta, Eddy, etc.), over to Mt. Mcloughlin right near by, up to the Crater Lake rim with Thielsen and Bailey, back over to the Rogue Valley with Mt. Ashland and Wagner Butte — just amazing views! I never realized how big the Klamath Lakes were and I only got to see the Upper one from above. This will be a place to return to (with bug spray!)