Tag: ventana wilderness

Ventana Wilderness: Junipero Serra Peak

Hike: Junipero Serra Peak via Santa Lucia Trail
Where: Ventana Wilderness
Trailhead: Santa Lucia Trail
Level: Strenuous
Duration: 4 hours
Length: 4 miles
Gear: Outdoor Research Ignitor Tee, REI Sahara Convertible Pants, Boreas Topaz 25 Daypack, Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles, and Ahnu Sugarpine Waterproof Boot
Cost of Parking: Free

Drove down this past weekend to Los Padres National Forest with every intention to bag Junipero Serra Peak. (For the record, the drive down at night is gorgeous with millions of stars as far as the eye can see, so that was worth it in itself.) Did I bag it? Not even close. I underestimated the scorching sun, unforgiving heat, lack of shade, and desolate dryness of this side of the Santa Lucia Range.

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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: Tin House from HQ

Hike: Tin House from Park HQ
Where: Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park (park map here)
Level: Moderate
Duration: 4 hours
Length: 8~ miles
Gear: REI Sahara Convertible Pants – Women’s Petite, Arc’teryx Delta LT, Icebreaker Bodyfit Oasis Crew, Ahnu Women’s Montara Waterproof Boot, Black Diamond Ultra Distance Trekking Poles
Cost of Parking: $10 in park, or free on the side of HW1

I’ve been meaning to do this hike for a while, but never manage to make it out to Big Sur. The one time I did this past summer, I accidentally went to Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (I mean, come on, the names are so identical) and ended climbing up the Big Sur River instead. Made it down to the right park this past Christmas, but then drove past the trailhead.

But that’s okay! Because it made this hike even better. I parked at the big turnout down the road from McWay Falls about 500 feet and walked up Highway 1 into park headquarters. For Christmas Day, it was pretty packed full of people already leaving. (It was 10am when I got there.)

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Ventana Wilderness: Cone Peak via Vicente Flat

Hike: Cone Peak via Vicente Flat
Where: Ventana Wilderness
Trailhead: Kirk Creek off of Highway 1
Level: Moderate
Duration: 3 days and 2 nights
Length: Approximately 20~ miles out and back
Cost of Parking: Free on the side of Highway 1

Fun fact: I’ve never really hiked in Big Sur until this holiday break. I got the chance to tackle Julia Pfeiffer Burns and Cone Peak! Not all in one day though.

Peakbagging in the Santa Lucia Mountains is something that has been on my to do list for a while, but I’ve been putting it off with trips to bag peaks in the Sierra Nevadas instead. With a few days off before 2014, what better way to ring in the new year than traversing across mountains?

I originally planned to start this hike at Limekiln State Park and taking the Stone Ridge Trail to Vicente Flat, but couldn’t park my car at Limekiln. Ended up starting at Kirk Creek, which knocked a few miles off the adventure.

It has been unusually dry this winter, so I was a little worried about water sources along the trail. However, the creeks are flowing above Espinosa Camp (2.6 miles in) and above Vicente Flat (5 miles in). The hike in to Vicente Flat starts with switchbacks ascending above a breathtaking view of the coastline. It then descends into second growth redwoods where the campsites are located.

From there, I took Vicente Flat up to Coast Ridge Road. The majority of this section of Vicente Flat follows a gorgeous creek, and then makes way for spectacular views of Cone Peak. Coast Ridge Road is currently open for motorized vehicles, so Cone Peak was a little busier than usual. Cone Peak was amazing with views of the coastline and Ventana Wilderness.

I then retraced steps back to Vicente Flat for another night, then back to the trailhead.

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