3.5 / 5 ( 2 reviews )
A good portion of Sheridan Mountain traverses the ravaged area left in the wake of the 2018 Stubbs Fire which burned over 8000 acres of pine forest and high desert chaparral. The very hot fire left nothing but the bare ground and the blackened gnarled trunks of the junipers. Jumbled granite outcroppings are laid bare. The stark desolate scene jars the nerves, especially at first. But even in destruction, there is a sort of artistic beauty. The pygmy forest of pure black stands before the ancient buff and cream granite boulders. Stonehenge meets Dantes Inferno.
After a stretch of several miles, the road reenters a prototypical high chaparral forest of small pines and junipers. The fire scorched earth teases in and out of view as well, a constant before and after, reminding you to tend your campfire well and not toss an errant cigarette butt out the window. B.T. Butte looms ahead, its sloped shoulders like every other massif if the area, but proudly possessing a stony rhinoceros horn on its southern end.
At the intersection with Conger Water
the trail crosses a seasonal stream and begins to be more difficult and rockier than the easy track of the last four miles. With the ascent out of the drainage, Sheridan Mountain, the namesake of the trail, dominates the southern skyline. The trail turns eastward snaking along the edges of Sheridan's foothills. If you like the granite outcroppings of the area, you will certainly enjoy some of the ridges in this section.
After the intersection with FR 705A, Sheridan Mountain begins a boulder-strewn ascent up the narrow shelf road to the top of Smith Mesa. Attentiveness in choosing a good line will ensure your success. The top of the mesa rewards the brave with superb views. Enjoy.
For individual use only, not to be shared.