What makes Mount Sizer a must-see? Check out Baychic’s pictures from Saturday. She went with a group that put in a 16-mile version of the Sizer loop (just about any Sizer hike is a minimum of 12 miles, all of them arduous.) The hills burnt by last year’s fire are starting to green up, and the terrain has that rugged wildness you have to be in the middle of to appreciate.

I’ve covered the Sizer loop twice here (April 2008 and February 2007), both on the so-called counter-clockwise route. Baychic went the harder way, to my mind: the brutal uphill slog on the Hobbs Road Short Cut; it’s almost as bad downhill but it’s a soul-killing climb up — no fun at all.

Whichever way you go, though, just go; if not now, try in the spring, when the hills are green (though the trails will be muddy). That’s assuming you can handle 12-plus miles and 4,000 feet of elevation gain. Give yourself plenty of time, take along extra food and water, slather on sunscreen. Take a map along in case you take a wrong turn.

The best way to go? I stand by the counter-clockwise loop: Corral Trail to Manzanita Point Road to Poverty Flat Road, across the Coyote Creek (wading or boot removal usually required) and up to the Jackass Trail, where you turn left and head up the ridge to Blue Ridge Road, which you take till you turn left at Hobbs Road and return to the Park HQ.

Jackass Trail is the key on this route: you can find it much more readily from Poverty Flat road than you can coming in the opposite direction off Blue Ridge Road: Baychic’s group missed the turnoff (the sign burned in the fire, most likely) and added a couple extra miles to their hike. Jackass Trail is one of the nicest segments of single-track at Coe, especially now because it tracks right through the middle of the fire zone. Haunting and stark as of this writing, but highly recommended pretty much anytime but July or August.

More Mount Sizer links:

Random Curiosity does the clockwise route.

Fedak includes Sizer in one of his crazy-long day hikes.

Calipidder did a 17-mile version of the clockwise loop.

A Flickr slideshow of my Mount Sizer pics.

Google terrain map because I like doing these.

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