If you park at the Trapper Creek Trailhead, you'll need a recreation pass.
You can park at the beginning/west end of this trail via a sequence of dirt forest roads, or access the bottom from the Trapper Creek Trail #192
trailhead, which is accessible by any car. The trail can also be accessed from Government Mineral Springs Campground. Most people will use this trail to get to the summit of Observation Peak and/or to create loops in the Trapper Creek Wilderness rather than hike it end-to-end. There are not a lot of views from this trail, but the forest is lovely and some of the old-growth is very impressive.
From the west end, the trail begins a steady ascent with a few sections of switchbacks. After about a mile, you'll already come to the high-point of the trail where a faint trail can be taken to Sister Rocks. From there, descend a small amount to Trapper Creek Trail #192
and Big Hollow. Ascend a bit again from there to pass Shortcut
Trail (which leads to Rim Trail via Trapper Creek Trail #192
) and find the Observation Peak Trail #132A
, a very short distance after (2.25 miles from the TH). This is probably what you're after.
From Observation Peak Trail #132A
, the trail will begin a non-stop steady descent. This grade is smooth and doesn't need to utilize switchbacks. After another mile, you'll pass Sunshine
Trail, which connects to Rim Trail #202
before plunging to Trapper Creek Trail #192
At about 5 miles, you'll pass Big Slide
- another trail that plunges to Trapper Creek Trail #192
. In another two-thirds of a mile you'll cross a pleasant creek. There was a very nice small campsite just east of this creek. Finally, the trail will end at Trapper Creek Trail #192
, about a mile west of the Trapper Creek Trailhead and under a mile east of the trail to Government Mineral Springs Campground.
Old growth forest.