When we go to the Dewdrop Range, the Red Plateau Escarpment rises 2200 feet above. The reddish, ragged cliffs are the result of a lava flow. After thousands of years of weathering, the rock has become cracked, rotten and loose. Outcrops are rough and unreliable, talus and scree slopes are unstable, and all hiking up the escaprment is a challenging scramble.
We have hiked up the Dewdrop Trail to get to the top for decades, but we had heard that it is possible to scramble all the way up to the top so we went straight up to the Dewdrop Arch and through it (article), then turned out eyes upward to the top of Castle Butte.
We decided to contour around the cliffs to the right side. There is one steep sidehill section but once we turned the corner, we found a series of ramps and ledges that brought us around to the upper east side of the butte meeting the trail from the north which goes to the top. We had lunch on top of Castle Butte, enjoying the views.
The Dewdrop Trail used to be a loop. A trail went down a wooded gully on the west end of the Escarpment and continued to the Dewdrop Range at the bottom, avoiding all cliffs and rock. We could find small sections of it, but nature has reclaimed the trail and now it is a good route, but overgrown and slow-going. Blue clematis was in bloom in the cool, shady forest of the gully. A small stream also flowed down much of the route. We spotted a lynx which ran across the slopes away from the intruders.
At the bottom, we left the gully and traversed the grasslands back to our vehicles. The loop is a slow one, requiring careful route choices and focused progress across difficult terrain, only for those with lots of scrambling experience and a love for exploration.