Has anyone hiked up the Loon Mountain Service Road Trail lately? It has been six or seven years since I've been up it and I see virtually no mention of it online anymore.

Certainly not ideal hiking conditions (generally loose gravel and dirt road), but my son is interested in giving it a shot since he loves skiing there in the winter (wants to see the trails in the summer and isn't quite ready to tackle the trail/bushwhack ascent to North Peak that many do for the NEHH. As I recall, the access road sort of goes along Lower Bear Claw to Grand Junction to Upper Bear Claw and Exodus.

I guess my questions are:

1. Is it still cool (allowed) to hike up that service road?
2. Are they sticklers about buying a summer gondola ticket if you hike up and ride back down? I used to be able to sneak on the gondola down no problem.

I'm thinking this is better posted here than the skiing forum, but I could be wrong!