Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Malcolm & Johnson Mountains

We found less snow than anticipated, and were shocked to find out it doesn't always rain on Memorial Day weekend.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Since last weekend, road has been graded past Beverly Creek campground, and is now a pleasant drive.  A number of blowdowns on both forks of Johnson Creek trail.  Creek crossings not difficult in hiking boots.

On a gorgeous though unusually warm May day, we did the loop counterclockwise.  Intermittent snow starting shortly before ridgetop at 5300' to Malcolm summit.  No snow to cross once leaving Malcolm's ridge to Johnson, following faint intermittent game and boot path.  The final few feet of rock scrambling to Johnson were the most technical part of the day, and it feels like a worthy summit.  Descending from Johnson, as the trail begins to traverse east before dropping into the south fork of Johnson Creek, there is a lovely spring about 10' below the trail right as you cross the first stream branch shown to cross the trail on the USGS map.  Our parched group was excited to see that a quart water bottle could be filled in 4 seconds with pure cold spring water.

We had a field day with flowers including the ephemeral steer's head, and saw several colorful Western tanagers.  The constantly changing perspectives of three river valleys and the Stuart Range and many Teanaway peaks add to the interest of this trip.