Sheep Mountain (9,794 ft) / Bridal Veil Falls Loop, 05/17/2003
The parking area at McGraw Ranch only contained a couple of cars, when we arrived at about 10:50. We had just come from the Twin Owls parking area which was completely filled with cars, and even the alternate parking area just off Devil's Gulch Road was almost filled. So Stefan suggested we go to a less crowded place. We started hiking the North Boundary Trail at 10:58. Once on the ridge, we left the trail heading west, following the ridge line toward the summit of Sheep Mountain. The terrain was nice, with sparse forest and not much brush. We arrived at the summit at about 12:30. The summit is not very impressive, being thinly forested, but it's a great place for a rest. We were surprised to find a summit register in a glass jar. Perusing the register, we found that it was placed there in 1992 by a park service employee, whose name I cannot remember. In the years since then there was only about 1 entry per year. We signed the register, being the first people to sign it since August of 2002. It was surprising to find the summit register, since the last time we were here, April 8 2001, we did not see it. At that time, there was more snow on the ground, so it must have been covered up. The person who left the register, suggested a smaller nearby unnamed mountain (9,776 ft) for great views. He said that it was at compass bearing 292 degrees from the Sheep Mountain summit. Looking at our topo map, we identified the location and decided to head there. Map and compass in hand, we headed northwest at about 12:50 toward the unnamed 9,776 ft mountain. Arriving there, we had to walk around to its north side, which is the best way to reach the top by foot. At the 9,776 ft summit, there were indeed great views and a USGS marker embedded in the rock, as mentioned in the Sheep Mountain register. From here, we had a great view of McGregor Mountain, Dark Mountain, Mummy Mountain, Signal Mountain, the upper Cow Creek drainage where Bridal Veil Falls is, and the rounded forested head of Sheep Mountain. We took many pictures, had some water, and enjoyed the view. Leaving this very nice isolated summit, we headed northwest along the ridge to its low point, then descended down the south side into the large aspen grove below. We proceeded southwest until we reached upper Cow Creek, then followed it downstream to Bridal Veil Falls, where we had lunch above the falls. After lunch, we carefully made our way around the southwest side of the falls, and reached the trail below at the base of the falls. We returned along the Cow Creek Trail, making it back to the truck at about 16:45.