The south summit of Mount Mara has one of the best viewpoints in our whole area. The top of the cliffs offer wide vistas south, east, and west. The summit is a worthwhile destination for hikers, but some hard work is needed to get to the top. On this mid-February day, a route up from the west was chosen since the open sagebrush slopes were snow-free.
This route followed the Mara Trail (info) through the lower hills.
This is a pleasant loop and the ground was frozen early in the morning, but on the return trip, the trail was muddy.
Mount Mara rises like a battleship over the western sagebrush slopes.
There is no trail from this side. We just have to wind our way through the sagebrush and grass. In spring this would be a less desirable route because of ticks and in summer, it would be hot on the treeless slopes. The Dewdrop Range across Tranquille Creek provides a backdrop to the sagebrush benchlands and slopes on the west side of Mount Mara.
A few trees in sheltered spots stand on the steep slopes to the summit. Talus slopes lie below rock bands and there are some cliffs near the top to navigate around. Strong ankles, good boots, and poles make this section manageable. Hardened snow clung to the upper rockbands just below the western rim.
The meadows and treed plateau still had a foot of snow, but in the morning it was hard enough to walk on top on the traverse to the south summit.
The view to the east was a bit misty, but landmarks were visible behind the Batchelor Hills.
There are two summits to Mount Mara. The southeast summit can be included in a hike to the top of the mountain.
The view past the iconic barren tree was of the western slopes down to the trailhead and was also a reminder to start the return journey.
From the top of the western rim, views extend up to rugged areas of the northwest hills.
There are easier routes to the top of the mountain:
We like the northeast approach the best, but we try to find new routes each year too when the conditions are right.