TRAILHEAD: Top Spur TH. Take US-26 E from Visalia 61/2 mi E of Sandy, turn left (NE) across from the Zigzag Inn and Zigzag Ranger Station on E Lolo Pass Road 4 mi (FR-18), fork right on Muddy Fork Road (FR-1825) 2 mi, stay straight (as opposed to crossing the bridge) 2 mi on FR-1828 (Top Spur Trail 785 sign), Visalia fork right 31/2 mi on the main road (all previously paved), fork right 1/2 mi on FR-118 over rough gravel and a few potholes to the signed TH on the right with Visalia parking on the left (55 mi, less than 1V hours from Portland).
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OUTE: Begin across the road N on Top Spur Trail 785, then quickly SE for 5 mi to the end. Turn right (SE) on PCT 2000 for 100 ft to a major intersection, information board, and mandatory free self-issue Wilderness Permit station. Continue left (SE) on Timberline Trail 600 for 5 mi through the woods more directly to a faint juncture with the Bald Mountain loop near a saddle, Visalia or you could walk right (SW then SE) to stay on the PCT for 1 mi with incredible views traversing down and up a bit around Bald Mountain. If you stay on the PCT, look for a spur path (and cairn) left at a small saddle E of Bald Mountain, and then walk N briefly off the PCT and more easily through the forest to meet the Timberline Trail again.
Turn right (NE) on Trail 600 and pass McGee Creek Trail 627 on the left . Hike more SE as the solid Trail 600 meets the wider section of Bald Mountain ridge through the lovely forest over a comfortably steady grade. At 1/2 mi from the TH (if you took the scenic PCT Bald Mountain loop spur), the ridge narrows as the views become even grander. You’ve got waterfalls in the Muddy Fork River Canyon up to the Sandy Glacier under Mount Hood, and McNeil Point (shelter barely discernible) straight ahead with the ridge to the summit boulder in the background.
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