| Missouri Mountain - Northwest Ridge
Start time: 5:45am
Up: 4.75 hr
Down: 2.5 hr
Total: 7.25 hr
Summit Weather: Sunny and pleasant (maybe 40 degrees?), only a slight breeze.
Our journey started on Friday night, when we drove to the trailhead and camped in the car. The road is washboarded, but it not difficult to get to the trailhead. We arrived at the trailhead around 10:30pm, and there were already several cars at the trailhead, but there was plenty of space for us. We decided to set the alarm for 5am to get an early start.
On Saturday morning, after a few snoozes were hit on the alarm, we finally started moving and getting ready for the hike. Since it was quite chilly, we decided to start the car to get the heat on. In doing so, we accidentally set off the panic button on our car. We got it shut off quickly, but we are very sorry for anyone who was rudely awoken by our car at 5:15 in the morning! We didn’t meet anyone on the trail that heard it, so maybe some of you on Belford/Oxford were cursing us….
We finally got going at about 5:45am with our headlamps on. It was pretty chilly at this time, about 30 degrees.
After a little while, the sun started peeking through, and we were able to start admiring the pretty aspens.
Looking back on the trail when we were almost to treeline
The very first part of the trail is fairly steep, and then once getting to around treeline, it flattened out a little. The sign where the trail splits to go to Belford or Missouri is easy to see. Go toward Elkhead Pass to get to Missouri.
Missouri in the distance
I saw the sign!
The trail had several creek crossings, but there was only 1 that caused us a little trouble because some of the rocks were still slick with morning ice. On the way back down, we didn't have any issues.
Rocks a little slick in the morning making it a little tricky to avoid getting wet
As we kept going on along on the trail, we couldn’t really tell where the trail was that led up to the ridge. We thought this little offshoot to the right was the correct path, but it turns out, that was incorrect. This was much steeper with lots of rocks, but did eventually lead back to the actual trail. You should see the sign before you turn right to hike up the face to the saddle.
where you can meet back up on the trail
I didn’t see the sign!! (until we took the correct trail on the way back down)
This part of the route was very steep until getting to the saddle. The views from the saddle made that part of the trek worth it.
Almost to the saddle
Looking toward Missouri
From the saddle
The rest of the trip to the summit had lovely views of Huron, and the route for the most part was pretty “flat” in terms of elevation gain. The trail did get narrow, and the footing wasn’t easy throughout this part of the trail. The trail was almost at an angle with loose dirt and rocks, so we were a little careful through these parts.
We made it to the top, and luckily it was not very crowded at the time. There were only a handful of people who were getting there about the time we did. We even met a couple from Utah with their two dogs, who said that it was their first 14er. How exciting! We enjoyed lunch and views from the top for about a half hour. We had wonderful weather, and the only complaint would be there was a little haze that seemed to block the really far away views, but we still had great views of the surrounding peaks.
At the top!
from the top
On the way back down, we realized just how steep the trail was going down the face from the saddle. We definitely took our time during some of the sections. The rest of the hike was pleasant. Once we got back to treeline, we were able to fully enjoy the aspens and all the lovely colors. Even the pine trees were decorated with aspen leaves.
getting back to treeline
adam doing some “construction” on the log house on the way down
from the first stream crossing
Overall, it was a beautiful hike and we are glad we decided to go in the fall to enjoy the aspen trees changing colors.
As usual though, we did learn some things from this hike.
1. We started out the hike with jackets (over other under armor layers) since we were very cold when we started. About 30 minutes in, we warmed up and were wishing we didn’t have to drag them around the rest of the time.
2. There were not many dogs on this trail, and it was very rocky and steep. For sensitive paws, this would have been a tough hike for dogs (especially ours - so we were glad we left them home).
3. (the most important lesson we learned): When you lock your car from your key FOB from inside the vehicle, you should unlock your car from your key FOB before trying to start your car. If you try to start your car before unlocking it and disabling the security system, the panic will start to go off.
Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):