26-Feb-03 (Private Hike)
By: Gabriele Rau
Montecito Peak is a beautiful hike, using the Cold Springs Trail and I recommend this route strongly. But sometimes time is short and there is quicker way to get to the peak: from the top, Camino Cielo Road.
From the Cold Springs TH drive 4.2 miles East on Mountain Road to Gibraltar Road, turn right (North) on Gibraltar Road (this turn off is hard to see!). Continue 6.5 miles on the very curvy Gibraltar Road to the intersection with Camino Cielo. Turn right (East) for 3.4 miles to a wide dirt area below a water tank on the right side of the road. Park here. There is a sign to Cold Springs Trail, Mountain Road, right. On the left side a trail leads to Forbush Flats.
Hike downhill for a mile to a saddle, the trail now leads around Montecito Peak. Continue for a couple hundred yards to a very steep use trail on the left side. Climb up here and follow the washed out trail to the summit. Erosion has formed an abysmal gulch, either hike on the side or in the deep rocky gully. The peak is rather flat. Someone had spelled out NO WAR in rocks on the summit. Great Views! Avoid this hike in dense fog.
From the turnoff down again to the Gibraltar Road you get a fantastic view of Cathedral Peak, and you can see why it got its name!
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