Although it starts near Onion Creek, water becomes scarce the higher you climb on this trail. Don't count on the spring at 7,500 feet for water. Carry plenty of water with you.
The usual route for those interested in climbing Strawberry Mountain, either as a dayhike, run or as part of a backpack, is up the Strawberry Basin Trail #375
to its junction with the Onion Creek Trail #368, then along that trail to the short Summit Trail #5002
. This is an intermediate hike past lots of scenery in the upper Onion Creek drainage. You can also reach the summit via the Onion Creek Trail #368 itself, starting from a lower elevation. This is a demanding hike that may require some careful route finding in the upper meadows.
The #368 starts on Forest Road 6001 and climbs very steeply (3,500 feet in 4 miles) to a junction with the Summit Trail #5002
. Short sections of this piece of the trail pass through areas impacted by the 2013 Strawberry Complex Fire. The trail can be difficult to follow in upper alpine meadows about 3 miles up from the trailhead. Fortunately, there are plenty of trail markers (cairns and blazes) to guide you across here - just be sure you are following them. This hike also passes lots of scenery in the upper Onion Creek drainage.
The #5002 is a short, but steep, climb up the open flanks of Strawberry Mountain to huge views from the top. The Onion Creek Trail #368 continues on down from its junction with the Summit Trail #5002
, past, at 4.9 miles from the trailhead, a junction with the Strawberry Basin Trail #375
, to its end at a three-way junction with the Road Ends Trail #713 and the Pine Creek Trail #201.