The Dewdrop Trail climbs from the Dewdrop Range up the Red Plateau Escarpment to the Rim. The route goes up a gully, then traverses over onto a broad ridge to the top, a vertical climb of 510 m (1673 feet). The next ridge to the west is narrow, steeper, and rocky. This ragged red ridge has no trail, but it is an interesting and rewarding climb with fine views. From below we could see a number of bluffs on the ridge, but we found good routes around the rock cliffs and outcrops all the way to the top. We brought a rope for handline support but did not need it. The ridge itself is steep (29% average grade) over 1.6 km, hard work to get to the top. Poles and good boots make a difference on these kinds of off-trail Class 1/2 scrambles.
The ragged red ridge is broad and steep at the bottom, then narrows off and becomes more rocky as we climbed higher.
There were 3 ecozones on the way up. At the bottom in the sagebrush and bunchrass were dry land species. We have seen rattlesnakes there, coyotes, and cactus. On the way up, the exposed south-facing ridges had sedum, junipers, Oregon grape, and shrubby penstemmon. On the top, we entered the forest and spotted Jacob’s ladder, arnica, field chickweed, and pussytoes in the open fir forest. The top end of the escarpment is mostly rough, bare volcanic rock .
There were a few bluffs to get through at the top end, but we wound our way easily through the cliffs to the top. We were pleasantly surprised with the route.
The ragged red ridge is not for the average hiker. It is a steep off-trail light scramble to the top. There are a few spots where it drops off, but we were able to stay on top of the ridge and we were always able to find safe and reasonable routes all the way up the ridge. We will do this again, but we will reverse the direction next time. There are more ridges to explore to the west since the Red Plateau Escarpment is 20 km long.