In the first part of this trip report I covered hiking into the summit of Bell Mtn from the FT12 trail head; now we will be covering the approach to Bell Mtn from the Hwy A trail head. The trail is strikingly different from the start. The forest is less dense, and the trail is much more steep and rocky.
The ruggedness and incline of the Hwy A approach definitely makes a more difficult hike than the FT12 approach. That said, I prefer the Hwy A approach, there are other reasons for that preference too: more scenic overlooks along the way…
There was a lot more storm damage on this end of the trail, but the sawyers have done a great job of keeping the trail itself clear from major debris. Many thanks goes out to these guys who do a hard job in a very difficult location.
The trail continues to gain elevation and continues to remain pretty rocky.
Along the Hwy A approach there are several areas where the trail opens up into some gorgeous open glades.
Hiking through these glades really made me appreciate the natural shade canopy that the forest provides for much of the trail. When you step out into one of these glades you could immediately feel the temperature spike from the exposure.
Though there are some points in the trail that aren’t too rugged, be sure to keep an eye out where you are stepping, I almost stepped right on this guy:
The Hwy A approach is definitely more my type of hiking as opposed to the FT12 approach, but any hiking is good hiking.
One note of caution: Once you enter the Bell Mountain Wilderness Area is you are truly placing yourself in a fairly remote location. One bad move here could leave you stranded for quite some time. Do not treat this hike as a leisurely walk in the woods; always carry enough food, water and gear to be prepared to spend the night out in the wilderness. If you are inexperienced hiker, do no try this without the help/guidance of someone who has some more wilderness miles on their boots.
As always, don’t hike without your lucky hiking hat…