Monday, June 12, 2017


This unnamed peak is on the East side of Pinnacles National Park, and is the high point on a long north-south ridge. I had an off Friday, so I decided to get in some activations. It was overcast as I left home and headed south on 101. There were a few sprinkles in the Bay Area, and on 25, south of Hollister, it actually rained. The rain stopped by the time I got to the park. I parked in the day use lot behind the visitor center/store and set out.
Hiking through the overcast campground.
The first part of the trail follows the road through the campground until it turns to dirt and becomes the Bench trail. After about a quarter mile, the trail approaches the road. On the other side there is the end of an embankment. Here I saw a rabbit run across the road and into the bushes on the other side! Cross the fences on each side of the road and begin to climb. There are some herd paths that I followed up until I reached the fence corner.

At the beginning of the fence.
This fence is very well maintained, and extremely easy to follow. There were no good places to cross, so I stayed on the West side of the fence the entire time. Take this clearing to the top. At the top of one of the bumps was a locked metal box. Not sure what it is for. There is one peak that looks like the summit (about 3.3 miles in), but the high point is a bit further on. There are two peaks that are about the same height, and both are in the activation zone. I chose to stop at the first one because the trail heading over to the other one looked very rough.
The map says that that peak is a few feet higher, but the peak I'm on is still in the activation zone.
There are great views of the High Peaks region from this ridge. I also had some views of North and South Chalone Peaks once the clouds lifted. The Balconies area was also easy to pick out.
From right, Balconies, High Peaks, North Chalone, South Chalone.
I attached my pole to the fence and set up my doublet. There are no trees here, so bring your own antenna support. I had enough cell service to send a spot, and with that I was on the air. There weren't very many chasers, I only got two contacts on 30, 20, and 40. I have not had good luck with VHF from Pinnacles, so I didn't try.
The hike back was easy, retracing my steps. As I was walking through the campground I saw a deer. There was still plenty of daylight left when I reached the car, so I decided to head over to Fremont Peak for an easy two-pointer.

Trailhead: Pinnacles National Park Visitors Center. East side of the park. Park at the visitors center, not at one of the trailheads farther up the road.
Website: SOTA SitePinnacles NP site.
Maps: KB1KXL SOTA Hikes map. I like the Tom Harrison Maps.
Route: Walk through the campground to the Bench Trail. Where the trail gets close to the road, cross the road and head uphill. Follows the very well maintained fence to the highest point.
Red Tape: None. Check park website to make sure there are no closures (unlikely in this area).
Was there a slide here a long time ago?

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