Maughan Hollow - Cottonwood Loop, 29 May, 2022

Ten intrepid hikers, Susan (trip leader), Jane, Dave W., Dave P., Brent J., Brent L., Ophelia, Teresa, Michelle and David W., braved unseasonably cool and rainy weather for this Memorial Day weekend hike.

The originally scheduled hike was to start at the Right-Hand Fork trailhead, go up Willow Creek and traverse in a counterclockwise loop via an unmarked drainage and return to the parking area via the Little Cottonwood trail (see our 2021 trip report). 

After discussing hiking options in case the weather worsened, the group carpooled from Logan arriving at the trailhead about 8:35 a.m. The decision was made to start at the Little Cottonwood trail.  This would give hikers access to the (anticipated) blue camas (Camassia quamash) meadow closer to that trailhead with options of either an out-and-back trip or continuing with a clockwise loop.

The trail was muddy and slippery making foot travel difficult and slow. We reached the first stock pond for a group photo and continued to the meadow where, unfortunately, not many camas were blooming. The existing flowers were possibly frost damaged or not well formed due to a dry spell earlier in the spring. We noticed that many leaves were yellowed.

We decided to continue, hoping the rain would hold off. Unfortunately, it began raining in earnest with the wind picking up in the open exposed area about ½ mile from the saddle where the two-track road we had been following turns to the east. Several in the party donned rain ponchos. Feet were getting soaked and some hikers started getting cold.

At the saddle, hikers stopped for a brief lunch/snack break in a grove of (not fully leafed out) Bigtooth maple trees. Due to worsening weather conditions (snow/rain mix), the group decided to return via the Maughan Hollow trail to reduce trip time back to the cars (we went this way in the opposite direction on our 2016 trip).

Trip Summary:
  • 10 Participants: Susan (trip leader), Dave W., Jane, Dave P., Teresa, Brent J., Brent L., Ophelia, Michelle, and David W.
  • Left Logan about 8:10 a.m. and arrived at trailhead about 8:35 a.m. and started hiking about 8:45 a.m..  Stopped for brief snack/lunch at the saddle about 11:15 a.m. and back at the cars by about 1:00 p.m..
  • Plentiful wildflowers, larger patches of healthier blue camas were observed on the descent toward Maughan Hollow
  • Unseasonably cool temperatures in the 40s and muddy conditions throughout
  • Overcast / showery off and on at the beginning of the hike, then heavier rain and wind along the open terrain near the half-way point along the exposed area before the saddle
  • Rain / snow mix began about 11:20 a.m. and we headed down toward Maughan Hollow approx. 11:30 a.m.
  • Hiked about 5.5 miles (0.9 miles shorter than the originally planned route) with 1000 feet of ascent

Thanks to Susan for the narrative and photos, Jane and Dave P. for photos and Dave W. for photos and GPS data.

Hiking up the Little Cottonwood Trail
Mud stuck to boots and fell off in clumps as we walked (and trail conditions worsened throughout the day)

Near Little Cottonwood Spring

A stock pond near Little Cottonwood Spring
Green pack covers were in style
Hiking through a meadow near Little Cottonwood Spring
A meadow of blooming Lomatium grayi as weather conditions deteriorated

A cold and wet lunch break

Ruts caused by motorcycles and mountain bikes Gray's biscuitroot, Gray's desert parsley, Lomatium grayi

Woodland star, Lithophragma parviflorum
Cutleaf or bigleaf balsamroot, Balsamorhiza macrophylla

Blue camas, Camassia quamash
Low larkspur, Delphinium nuttallianum

A brief moment of sunshine near the end of our hike

Our GPS track shows about 5.5 miles and 1000 feet of ascent.
You can look at our route using Google Earth or download our GPS file.