Johnson Mountain Trail is a nice day hike when camping at Blue Lake. From Blue Lake, head west and turn right onto Pilot Ridge Trail #652
. Johnson Mountain Trail is then found at a well marked trail junction after hiking about a mile along Pilot Ridge Trail #652
Johnson Mountain Trail climbs continuously traversing grassy meadows on the very steep slopes of Johnson Mountain. From the very beginning to the end, there are awesome views in all directions. Be careful to not get so distracted by the views that you make a mis-step and fall off the mountain - it is very steep and a fall would not end well. Snowy mountains are everywhere into the far distance.
Other nearby green ridges covered with grassy meadows and forests stretch out dramatically in all directions, most notable is Pilot Ridge to the northwest. Several creek/river drainages branch out below from their sources. Blue Lake is right there, far below, and Little Blue Lake can be seen nearby. If you are planning to hike Blue Lake High Trail #652.1
you can get a look at it to the southeast on the far side of Blue Lake, as it traces its way up to its knife edge summit. Fun to bring a map for your rest breaks and enjoy identifying the surrounding topography :>)
After winding around on the grassy slopes for about a half mile, Johnson Mountain Trail makes a U-turn at an awesome overlook, and heads for the summit block, a rocky outcropping. The trail is soon right below the rock outcropping, but still with meadows dropping away to the left/south. Then abruptly the trail comes to a very short (a few feet) place where rock climbing skills and nerves of steel are needed to continue.
One can see more reasonable trail on the other side of this gap, but this is where this trail description ends. There is only about another 100 meters on the other side of the gap to the summit, but the gap takes the hike to another level, double black diamond. And it is hard to imagine, one would get any new views by going the last 100m to the summit. Please make good decisions and stay safe.
Grassy, steep meadows with gorgeous summer wildflowers. Marmots live here.