** Use at Your Own Risk **
See the Retired Peak Guides in the Archives for Microsoft Word and other versions of this peak guide.
Location: Santa Barbara County, about 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, 145 miles from Los Angeles
- Auto Club: Santa Barbara County
- Forest Service: Los Padres National Forest: Mt Pinos, Ojai and Santa Barbara Ranger Districts
- USGS Topo: Big Pine Mountain 7½, Madulce Peak 7½, Fox Mountain 7½, Salisbury Potrero 7½
explanation of usage
Nearby Peaks: Samon Peak, Madulce Peak, Big Pine Mountain
Printable version of this route
(USFS Adventure Pass required)
- Distance: 35 miles round trip on dirt road
- Gain: 4400'
- Time: 19-21 hours round trip (2 days)
- Rating: Class 1, very strenuous
- Navigation: Easy
Original: John Backus, May 1981
DRIVING ROUTE 1
- Drive north on I-5 past the Grapevine to the SR 166 off-ramp. Turn
- Head west 36.5 miles, passing through Maricopa, to the junction with
SR 33 south. This junction may be reached by a slower route via SR 33
north from Ojai. (There is a junction with SR 33 north in Maricopa that
you will pass in Maricopa.) Turn left (south).
- Go 2.7 miles to Foothill Road on the right. Turn right (west).
- Go 2.1 miles, crossing the Cuyama River, to the Santa Barbara Canyon
Road (9N11) on the left. Turn left, note your odometer, and go as
- At 3.1 miles, just past a ranch house, junction with a dirt road on
the left and a paved road on the right with a sign "Santa Barbara
Canyon Road". Turn right.
- At 7.5 miles, fork with Santa Barbara Ranch visible ahead. Go right
and cross a creek. The pavement ends.
- At 10.8 miles, fork with Dry Canyon Road on the left. This is the
turnoff for Lizard Head and
Cuyama Peak (LO). Keep straight.
- At 12.6 miles, a locked gate. Park here.
If the Cuyama River is impassable, return to the junction of SR 166
and SR 33 and go as follows:
- Go west on SR 166 for 4.7 miles to a bridge over the Cuyama
River, and an immediate junction past the bridge, on your left. This is
Kirschenmann Road (paved). Turn left.
- Continue 2.4 miles to the end of Kirschenmann at Foothill Road. Turn
- Drive 3 miles to Santa Barbara Canyon Road on the right (south). Turn
right and continue as above.
HIKING ROUTE 1
- From the parking area (3440'), hike through the small gate and continue
up the road. At 4 miles there are the posts of a second gate; off the road
to the right is a flat area suitable for camping.
- Continue up the road,
keeping left at a fork with Sierra Madre Road about 0.5 mile farther, and
go about 5 miles farther to Chokecherry Spring (5500'), marked
by a water trough and a large water tank. This is the turnoff for
- Continue south up the road about 1.7
miles (700' of gain) to a saddle where the road starts downhill. About
30 yards past the saddle, a trail starts off to the left, visible from the
saddle. This is the turnoff for Madulce Peak.
- Continue on the road about 1.2 miles to a fork. The left fork leads a
short distance to the old Alamar station site. This is an excellent dry
- Take the right fork and continue 2 miles to where a jeep road
goes up the slope to the left. This is the turnoff for
Big Pine Mountain.
- Continue along the main road
passing a trail on the right. This goes down to Big Pine Campground where
there is a spring with unreliable water. Continue to a fork with a sign "Mission
- Turn right onto the Mission Pine Trail and
proceed west for about 1.5 miles to an area where steep cliffs are seen
ahead, falling away to the left (south). This is the summit area of West
- To reach the summit, stay on the trail as long as it goes
uphill, passing some rock outcrops until just north of the peak.
- Leave the
trail at its highest point and ascend easy slopes on your left to the
foundations of an abandoned lookout and spectacular views.
If coming from Big Pine Mountain, it is possible
to descend cross-country through brush along the southwest ridge of
Big Pine to the road. Keep to the
right side of the ridge to avoid the worst of the brush. This places you
on the main road just west of the trail to Big Pine Campground.
The road that goes past Chokecherry Spring separates Dick Smith
Wilderness, on the east, from San Rafael Wilderness, on the west. The road
itself is not Wilderness and is suitable for mountain bikes.
West Big Pine
is generally climbed with Madulce Peak,
Big Pine Mountain and Samon Peak
on a 3-day backpack trip called "The Big Four". For all four
peaks, the distance is 45 miles, the gain is about 8000', and the
whole experience is very strenuous. There is water at Chokecherry Spring.
If you camp at Alamar, you must carry overnight water 3 miles and about
1000' of gain from Chokecherry Spring. Bears frequent the area, so it
is advisable to bear proof foodstuffs and other consumables when leaving
Please report any corrections or changes to the
Mountain Records Chair.
Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club
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