A little-known route on Mount Mara takes the hiker/scrambler above the main trail past hoodoos and sculpted rocks of the front side up to the base of the cliffs below the summit. From there, several options are available – return by the same route, traverse east over to the main trail, traverse over to the west to come down game trails. The route has been featured before:
The main trail goes up to the south-facing canyon and drops to the bottom of the drainage. On the scramble route, we instead go over to the west of the front face and go up the edge of the gully on the west side. The slope is bare but reasonably hikeable. Near the top, there are some sections of steep sidehill that require some caution, not suitable for all hikers. The faint “trail” continues above the canyon, working its way to a side valley. Much of this route is a game trail. We climb up the side valley up through a juniper slope between two hills. We go to the top of the south hill for the view.
Continuing north, we drop back into the juniper valley, then climb the open slope to the next hill. The trail continues on the back side of this second hill and then follows the spine of the ridge all the way up to the base of the summit cliffs. Most of the route is easy, but there are wonderful views of hoodoos, rock shapes, and colored slopes.
At the top of this ridge, we stop for lunch. From this point, hikers can return by the same route or can arc east or west. We went east, but had to get above some barren ridges, then descended down to the main canyon (Hoodoos) trail all the way to the bottom. The route is for those with good scrambling skills since all of the terrain is rugged. It is a route best done with another hiker in case of a fall and to help see the best route along the way.