San Bruno Mountain

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September 11, 2005

Description

A local hike joined by CHAOS member Buu. Rather than spend hours driving to a remote mountainous location, we drove a half-hour to a local mountainous location (and you can get near the trailhed on frequent local buses). San Bruno Mountain is an island in a sea of cities...it has no link to other parks or wild areas, and it is crowned by a great profusion of broadcast towers. However, from the main entrance on Guadalupe Canyon Parkway, there is a good choice of trails (ranging from broad strolling paths to single-tracks and (sometimes steep) fire roads.

We started with a flat loop on the gentle northern section of the park (Guadalupe Hills), then crossed under the Parkway and switchbacked up the Dairy Ravine trail to the Ridge Trail, which skirts the broadcast towers on the summit (1314'). We stopped for a snack at the Summit Viewpoint (where the trail joins the Ridge fireroad). After that, we followed the East Ridge down to the private property sign (probably off the end of McLain Avenue, Brisbane), dropping 900', the last very steeply off the toe of the ridge. One is tempted to investigate sea level trailheads around the edges of the mountain for future triips. On the haul back up to the top of the ridge, we were both glad of the plentitude of oxygen at sea level (Buu had also hiked Mt. Whitney recently).

Once back at the broadcast towers, we descended on the west side of the Summit Loop Trail back to the trailhead. All in all, a good brisk and vigorous hike in favorable, if changeable conditions. Certainly worth a visit in the winter/spring when the mountain will be green with flowers about.

Weather and Conditions

"Warning: Sudden Weather Changes!" Overall, it was foggy, but depending on immediate location on the trail, it ranged from warm and sunny to cold, windy and damp. The trails are generally in good condition, although isolated brush/poison oak encroachment occurs on the single tracks and there is "climb-through" portion of a Monterey Cypress on the Summit Trail, west of the trailhead. I could have used pruners and a folding saw.

About 12 miles, 1750 feet of ascent, 4:20 on the trail. Bunnyhike rating: 54

Maps

Area maps, route in blue, fuchsia, red and purple.

Map with route
Detailed Map (191K)

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San Bruno Mountain / Robert Parks / rparks@lvhot.org / revised September '05