Rock Mountain is one of our favorite Central Cascade hikes. The hike and the drive have challenges but the payoff views are fabulous.... and where can you hike on a Sunday in August and see a total of 2 other hikers?
First, the drive: The spur road to the trail off FS6700 is still a mess. The good news is a brushing crew has been working the road, although only the first 3/4 of a mile have been brushed, and that section is strewn with branches and chips of brush. The remaining 3 miles continue to be a rub /scratch the car on both sides tunnel of brush, meeting an oncoming car would require significant backing up to find a spot for cars to pass.
The trail: In the first mile the trail traverses some very heavily brushed sections, damp with morning dew, seeing obstacles at your feet before you trip on them is a challenge. There is plenty of water, and some muddy sections of trail below the hanging meadow. A few blow downs, but nothing serious. The trail from the hanging valley to the summit is in pretty good shape, steep but with ever improving views.
The bugs were minimal in the morning, it was sill cool when we set out, and there were only a few black flies on the return. There was an epic battle on the summit between flying black ants? and flying red ants on the summit cairn. Views were spectacular, the carpet of wildflowers approaching the summit were beyond the peak but still plenty, oh and there were giant huckleberries to snack on in many spots.