San Rafael Peak ( 6,644’ )
Location: Ventura County, about 16 miles south-southwest of Frazier Park, 90 miles from Los Angeles
Date : Sept 08, 2019 06:40 ~ 12:54 ( 6h 14m )
Johnstone Ridge Trailhead ( 06:40; 4900’ ) ~ Mutau Creek ( 07:12; 1.4 Mile; 4800’ ) ~
Motorcycle Barrier ( 07:32; 2.3 Miles ) ~ Saddle ( 08:08; 3.7 Miles; 5729’; 15m Break ) ~
Summit ( 09:42; 5.75 Miles; 6644’; 2470’ Gain; 33min Lunch & Rest ) ~
Saddle ( 11:30; 7.9 Miles; 5729’; 10m Break ) ~
Motorcycle Barrier ( 12:09; 9.3 Miles ) ~ Mutau Creek ( 12:22; 10.0 Miles ) ~
Trailhead ( 12:54; 11.5 Miles; 3145’ Gain )
With : Sierra Club 4 Members ( Private Hike )
DRIVING ROUTE 1
- Take I-5 north past Gorman to the Frazier Park turnoff.
- Go west on Frazier Mountain Park Road for 7.1 miles to the junction with the Lockwood Valley Road in Lake of the Woods. Turn left.
- Go 10.6 miles on the Lockwood Valley Road to the Mutau Road (7N03) on the left with a sign reading in part "Pine Springs 5". Turn left. Note your odometer and go as follows:
- At 2.1 miles, fork with Piano Box Loop Road on the left. This is the turnoff for Lockwood Peak. Keep straight on 7N03.
- At 2.7 miles, fork with 7N03A on the right. This is the turnoff for San Guillermo Mountain. Keep straight on 7N03.
- At 7.5 miles, fork to the left (east). Turn left. (The Thorn Point trailhead is on the right fork.) Note your odometer again and go as follows on the Mutau Road (7N03):
- At 2.5 miles, a stream crossing and the entrance to Halfmoon Campground. Keep straight.
- At 3.8 miles, a fork to the right. Turn left on 7N03 and immediately park in a small parking area at the road end.
HIKING ROUTE 1
- From the parking area (4900'), hike down the Johnson Ridge Trail (20W12) 1.0 mile to a trail junction on the west bank of Mutau Creek (4800').
- At the trail junction with a sign reading "Johnson Ridge Trail and Little Mutau Creek Trail", continue straight ahead, pass a sign reading "Sespe Wilderness" on the left and continue across Mutau Creek about 3/4 mile to a trail junction.
- At the trail junction with a sign reading "Little Mutau Creek Trail", continue straight on the Little Mutau Creek Trail over a motorcycle barrier about 1 1/2 miles to a saddle at 5729'. Do not turn right at this junction.
- At the saddle (5729'), turn right (south), follow a faint use trail up and over the right shoulder of bump 6160'+ and descend the steep slope to the saddle at 5960'+. Do not try to contour around bump 6160'.
- Hike across the saddle on a faint clipped use trail and turn left (southeast) to hike along the east trending ridge of San Rafael Peak.
- Contour around the east side of bump 6120'+ on the east trending ridge to the saddle to the southeast of it.
- From this saddle contour around the north side of bump 6408' on the east trending ridge to a saddle to the east of it.
- Continue up the ridgeline from this saddle over bump 6440'+ to the summit.
Use a high degree of care to ensure that the contours around bumps 6120'+ and 6408' take you to the appropriate saddle. It is possible to be misled high or low when contouring by the animal trails crossing the faint use trail. Since the saddles are higher going to the east, you should, when the animal/use trail you are using fades out, go up to the next animal/use trail. This strategy will generally take you to the next higher saddle. On the return, go down to the next animal/use trail when the one you are on fades out. This strategy will generally take you to the next lower saddle. It is very important that you not miss the saddle at 5960'+ on the return. The use trail through the brush on the saddle 5960'+ is reasonably well clipped. Carrying clippers to improve this portion of the route would be useful. Take care when descending from bump 6160'+ on the return to ensure that the faint use trail is followed to the saddle at 5729' on the Little Mutau Trail. The ridge over bumps 6120'+ and 6408' is brushy and involves additional elevation gain.
Mutau Road (7N03) is gated at the junction with Lockwood Valley Road. This gate may be closed due to the condition of the road in rainy season. Contact the Chuchupate Ranger Station of the Mount Pinos Ranger District at 661-245-3731 for information about the status of the gate.