USE AT YOUR OWN RISK
Location: San Diego County, about 17 miles east-southeast of Julian, 156 miles from Los Angeles
- Auto Club: San Diego County
- Forest Service: Cleveland National Forest
- USGS Topo: Whale Peak 7½
- HPS (updated):
National Geographic Topo!
- HPS (old version):
explanation of usage
- Distance: 8 miles round trip cross-country
- Gain: 2300'
- Time: 6-7 hours round trip
- Rating: Class 2, moderate to strenuous
- Navigation: Difficult
Original: Southern Courtney and Brent Washburne, April 1991
DRIVING ROUTE 1
- Take I-15 south to Temecula.
- Go southeast on SR 79 about 38 miles to Warner Springs.
- Continue 3 miles on SR 79 to the intersection with S2 on the
left. Turn left.
- Go southeast on S2 about 17 miles to SR 78 (Scissors Crossing).
- Jog 1/3 mile west on SR 78 (right) and continue on S2 for 6.0 miles to a
dirt road on the left (east) signed "Blair Valley". This is
just before mile marker 23. Note your odometer and go as follows:
- At 0.1 mile, a fork. Go right. (Do not take the hard right turn to the restroom.)
- At 1.4 miles, fork signed "Pictographs". Keep right.
- At 2.6 miles, fork. Keep right.
- At 3.0 miles, fork signed "Pictographs". Keep left.
- At 3.3 miles, fork signed "Pictographs". Keep left.
- At 3.9 miles, Mortreros, an ancient Indian Village. Keep straight.
- At 4.0 miles, fork signed "Pictographs". Keep right.
- At 5.3 miles the road ends at a turn-around. Park here.
HIKING ROUTE 1
- From the parking area (3120'), hike east along a trail about ¾ mile to
- Turn left (north) and hike a second mile up the wide draw
(labeled "Smuggler Canyon" on the topo) around to the end of the
ridge descending from Whale Peak.
- Then go east-northeast into a canyon
that descends from the mountain. (The canyon isn't evident against a
hillside of rocks, but the wash out of the canyon is evident.)
- Ascend the
canyon ¾ mile to about 4300' and find ducks on a big rock on the
right side of the canyon.
There are some class 2+ dry falls in the gully above about 3800', easier to
descend than to ascend.
- Climb steeply southeast up the side draw above
the rocks to the flat area at 5000' where you intercept the trail for
Route 2. (It is perhaps easier, though a bit longer, to continue NE up to the top of the gully to intercept the trail for Route 2.)
There are other possible routes to the summit starting from the "pictographs"
including from the south of the summit.