One of my favorite places to go when the Sierra Nevada are inaccessible (I'm not a snow person) is the Ventana Wilderness (Los Padres National Forest), specifically the Cone Peak area. Despite the fact that it takes the same amount of time to get to as Tuolumne Meadows, it has some major plusses for me. You start high, so you don't have to do a steep Ventana slog to get anywhere (not that there isn't plenty of steepness available), it is little visited, and there are great views of the rugged country. Also, as a trailwork aficianado, there is a huge amount of truly necessary trailwork beginning a short stroll from the trailhead.Map(s) of perambulations below.
This trip was intended to be an additional survey of the trails around Cone Peak. From the Cone Peak Road, on the Coast Ridge Trail, exploration of the fabled North Ridge Trail (to the top of Cone Peak), if successful, looping down to Trail Spring Camp and back via the Gamboa and Coast Ridge Trails, if not, out-and-back to Trail Spring Camp, or looping back via the Cone Peak Trail and the Cone Peak Road back to the trailhead. Estimated at 6-8 miles and 2000-2500 feet of ascent. Casual brushing and deadfall clearing as needed/possible, with a project of reclaiming a short lost alignment of the Gamboa Trail, near Trail Spring Camp.
Nate S. joined me for this trip. The North Ridge Trail remained fabled, at least via the flagged route. We continued north on the Coast Ridge Trail to the Gamboa Junction, down the Gamboa, working on the past week's deadfalls, fixed up a couple bad spots, and flagged the alignment of the off-tread bit of the Gamboa, still needs some work to re-open it. As I guessed the previous week, there was copious deadfall on the Cone Peak Trail upwards from Trail Spring Camp, all passable, if not fun. After skipping the summit trail (getting late), we continued down the main trail to the road and thence back to the trailhead. Total of about 8 miles and 2000 feet of ascent.
The weather was cool and pleasant. The trails are generally passable, but could use plenty of work. Link to .RTF logging report and annotated map Map with Location Notes (97K).
Map of hike location and route detail maps
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Home . ImagesCone Peak Trails 2 / Robert Parks / email@example.com / revised July '05