Don’t expect a warm-up on this 5.4-miler—the climb starts right from the trailhead with a switchback ascent of Basalt Peak’s lower slopes. The trail levels slightly after 0.5 mile for a mountainside traverse past intermittent views. Shortly thereafter, the trail crosses Minnow Creek, which flows down a small ravine and forms a petite waterfall to the left of the trail. During snowmelt, the sounds of the creek can be heard as you hike.
Nearly 2 miles in, turn left at the 3-way junction, and hike west through a moist seep area filled with mud and wildflowers. As you round the ridge on the mountain, look through the trees for the first views above the Chiwawa River valley. From this point, it’s a mere 0.3-mile ascent to the basalt cliffs, where views extend across the Rock Creek valley to the north. (Walk carefully along the edge of the cliffs.) Look up the Chiwawa River valley toward Chiwawa Mountain to spot Little Giant Pass and Crook Mountain, Clark Mountain, and Buck Mountain. The meandering Chiwawa River winds across the valley below your feet. When you’re done soaking in the views, retrace the same route back to the trailhead.
-Mapped by Alan Bauer, Alan Bauer Photography