HALL MOUNTAIN 6,323 ft.
Hall Mountain looms unobtrusively over the clear waters of Sullivan Lake. The mountain is home to one of Washington’s most famous herds of mountain sheep. The are prolific and some are frequently relocated.
Elevation gain: 1,070 ft.
Key elevations: High point 6,323 ft.
Distance: 5 miles round trip
Time: 3 hrs
Season: late June through October
Map: USGS Metaline Falls, Pass Creek
Drive: From Metaline Falls, WA, continue north on State Highway 31 as it climbs to the signed junction to Sullivan Lake.
0.0 miles. Turn right on Sullivan Lake Forest Road
4.0. Sullivan Lake Campground area. Continue past the campground on Forest Road #22
7 miles. Turn right on rugged Johns Creek Road #500
14.5 miles. Park at TH. Check with the ranger district for seasonal closures of this road.
Trail/Route: There are two closely-spaced junctions about ⅔ of the way up the trail. 1. Trail #533 goes east to Grassy Top Mountain. Trail #588 is a steep, washed-out trail plunging down to Noisy Creek Campground.
To reach Hall Mountain, head west on Trail #540. With most of the elevation gained on the access road, Trail 540 gains only 800 ft. in the 2½ miles to the summit. The trail is rocky in places but easy to follow. No water is available. Bighorn sheep may be seen most likely in the early morning or late afternoon.
HALL MT, 6,323’, October 22
Continuing my forays south of the border, I visited this minor league peak east of Metaline Falls, Washington on Tuesday, Oct. 22nd on a hike-a-bike outing.
Directions follow. Cross the border at Nelway and follow Washington #31 south to the signed turnoff east for Sullivan Lake (#9345) just before the steep descent to Metaline Falls. Follow the paved road to the East Sullivan Lake Campground entrance, where the pavement ends. Continue east on the unpaved #22 (signed Priest Lake) for 4.4 km. and turn right or south onto the unsigned Johns Creek road (#500). You know you’re at the right spot when you have crossed an excellent bridge immediately after leaving #22. As well, there is a signed toilet area on the north side of #22 opposite where you turn off.
Now you have a choice: you can park just past the bridge and ride your mountain bike, or you can drive the excellent 2WD road to the trailhead. At this time of year, the road is gated at about mile 3-4. Before August 15th, you can drive it right to the trailhead at mile 7.3. Being of a sporting nature, I parked the truck near the bridge and started riding at 11:00 (2880’).
The long, gentle switchbacks led me to the gate and a spur road signed “Fetus Creek Road” in 50 min. By 12:45, I had reached the car park and trail register (5280’). From this point, the route continues as a trail/single track on the old roadbed to a pass at a three-way junction at 5540’ (a further 15 min.). Here I turned right or west onto the signed Hall Mtn. Trail (#540). The signed Noisy Creek Trail heads down and south over highly technical terrain before exiting at the Noisy Creek Campground at the south end of Sullivan Lake (serious downhill riders take note). I continued west along the south aspect of Hall Mtn. for 15 min. more before abandoning the bike; I had reached the limits of my bike comfort envelope. Another 25 min. on foot along a very well marked trail through open, grassy slopes led me to the open summit and ruined lookout by 1:40 pm. Leaving the summit at 2:00, I re-traced my steps, stopped to fill in the trail register, and was back to the truck by 3:20 pm.
Numbers: driving time from Nelson to the junction of #22 and #500 (96 km. one-way), 1 hr. 25 min.; elevation gain from this spot to summit, ca. 3700’, allowing for ups and downs; round-trip riding and walking distance, 30.6 km.; total time of outing, 4 hrs. 20 min. In sum, this is an excellent fall outing on an outstanding road and trail system. You can even see Sullivan Lake from the summit.