I like unpopular, forgotten trails, and hikes to higher elevations in my area that I can do in January. Ned Hill fit the bill, so I decided to check it out.
The trail starts about a third of a mile past the Deer Ridge trailhead; it’s on the right, marked by a post that’s easy to miss. The trail is narrow and steep, with a dusting of snow. It climbs 900 feet in about 1.2 miles, so it’s a good little workout. There aren’t a lot of views, but I did catch some glimpses of Mt. Baldy and other peaks to the south.
At the top there’s a very rickety lookout which has somehow been standing since 1933. The main poles are trees that still look pretty solid, but the cross poles and platform look very rotted out and ready to fall. I started to climb it but changed my mind; it looked like the whole thing could have come tumbling down on my head. This page by lookout expert and scout extraordinaire Will Hite has a lot more history and details about the site.
The only other thing of interest on this hike was a set of tracks in the snow most of the way up. I’m not sure what animal made them; a large dog or a cougar?
I ran most of the way down, except for some steep sections where you need to be careful not to slip in the snow. Not a bad little workout in quiet mountain surroundings. Worth checking out if you’re in the area.