Hike of the Month: Mount Dickerman
Mount Dickerman Hike
This hike is another leg-burner. And an unbelievably rewarding one. When I set out from home on the day of this hike, I intended to take the trail up to Mount Forgotten Meadows. However, the head of the trail had moved to a different location and there weren?t any markers at what I think was the new trailhead. The likely new trailhead happened to share a parking lot with Mount Dickerman trailhead, so I decided to try out that hike instead. I usually wouldn?t recommend embarking on a different trail than originally planned, particularly if you don?t have a way of telling someone that you changed your planned route (I always tell my husband which trail I will be on when I hike alone). However, I read about this trail previously, had with me a book with a good description of the hike, was confident that it would be clearly marked, and saw that there were quite a few other people in the area.
Despite reading a bit about the trail itself, I was totally unprepared for the views I would find at the top of Mount Dickerman. Near and at the top, the view is absolutely stunning. At over 5,700 feet, the peak provides a clear vista of all the major peaks in the area. Getting to the top takes some work. The trail climbs almost 4000 feet in just over 4 miles, with substantial flat areas, making the uphill sections quite steep.
The first 2 miles are forested, offering welcome shade on hot days. After this section, there are periodic views throughout the hike, offering tastes of what you will see at the top. At about 3 miles, the trail flattens out substantially and opens up, offering great views of the surrounding mountains. It continues up through blueberry fields, above which you can spot the peak of Mount Dickerman. At this point, you have only a few more switchbacks to go before you make it to the top. If you have the energy, I definitely recommend checking out the views both from just below the summit and from the top.
The few descriptions I read said that there is no water on this hike. I brought my water filter just in case, and was pleasantly surprised to find two streams that were plenty deep enough to use my Katadyn filter. Both streams passed over the trail within the first 2.5 miles, so make sure to fill up your water bottles early on if you need to. This hike was relatively early in the summer during a very dry year with little snow. I would be wary of relying on mountain water sources later in the summer, but my guess is that they would still be there in later months during a year with normal precipitation and a more substantial winter snowpack.
I would take this hike again in a heartbeat and plan to do so as soon as Mountain Loop Highway is un-gated for the season and some of the snow melts off. I am really excited to see the surrounding mountains with a bit more snow on top of them!
Heading east on Mountain Loop Highway out of Granite Falls, you will pass the Verlot public service center. Drive just over 16 miles to the parking lot on your left.
Day Hiking Gear
These are some of my favorite gear items for day hiking:
- Day Pack?- My Osprey day pack is?the perfect size to fit all my snacks and hiking accessories and ?small enough to be light and unobtrusive, even for someone short like me
- Water Filter?- A little bulkier than some other options, my Katadyn filter is still by far my favorite of any that I’ve used
- Sunscreen – Badger is free of toxic chemicals like oxybenzone, instead relying on zinc as a safe physical barrier to protect your skin from sunburn
- Knife?- A good knife is an absolute must-have on day hikes and longer backpacking trips
- Whistle – One of the simplest and more important safety tools for hiking
- Water Bottle – I like to have a traditional water bottle and a bladder hydration system to keep in my pack to drink while walking
- Bug Repellent?(non-toxic) – For particularly buggy hikes, it’s nice to have some repellent to prevent bites from mosquitos and flies
In addition to being important for nourishment, tasty hiking snacks are so rewarding at the end of a tough hike. For summits, I prefer treats that include chocolate – these are some of my favorites:
- Peanut Butter Cups – Theo makes delicious peanut butter cups that are free of palm oil.
- Mint Coconut Butter Cups – Eating evolved coconut butter cups are a great alternative to peanut butter if you don?t tolerate or prefer not to eat peanuts. Mint is by far my favorite flavor.
- Chocolate Covered Banana Bites – I recently learned that these are made with mis-shapen bananas that were slated for disposal, which makes my love for them even stronger.
- Vegan Chocolate-Covered Peanuts – These candies are an awesome vegan alternative to M&M?s. They taste surprisingly similar and are free of dairy and artificial colors.