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After the long, 30-mile day to Rancheria Mtn, I had planned an easier outing to Big Grizzly Mtn, a P1K in the Western Sierra between SR120 and SR140, a hike of less than 10mi. However, upon reaching the Forest Service access road near the Rush Creek Lodge at Yosemite, I found the road gated due to a washout. They even had a picture of the impressive washout posted to convince the doubters among us. Hmmm. I needed something before driving home, so I set about looking for peaks along SR120 heading west. Smith Peak popped up - more than 500ft of prominence and Richard Carey had been there - good enough. It turns out to be exceedingly easy. The Smith Peak Lookout Rd is found at the back of the USFS Pines Campground on the south side of the highway. The good dirt road leads to the summit, but is gated about 1/4mi from the summit. There is parking at a 5-way junction not far below the gate. I walked to the summit which was manned at the time, the caretaker's truck parked out front. I took a few pictures of the smokey views, the benchmark, and the pleasant picnic bench found at the top before retreating. Since I'd hiked not even a mile, I decided to pay a visit to the nearby Hobron Hill, only 3/4mi from Smith Peak. Back at the van and the 5-way junction, I set off on foot on the road heading southwest. This road can be driven by any high-clearance vehicle, but it looked a little rough for the van. Just northeast of the summit I found an unsigned, locked gate to an old road heading up. The road hasn't seen vehicle traffic in at least a few years. Upon arriving at the summit, one finds a good gravel road coming up from the other side of the mountain. The top appears to be someone's man-cave, or in this case, man-hill. There are numerous fire pits, chairs, spent cigars, and all manner of stuff that has collected over the years but not really leaving an aesthetic look about the place. There was a truck parked at one side, though it appears to be there for local off-road use, and a trailer at the western end that I dared not visit should it prove to be occupied. I took a few pictures and head back. The whole outing was less than three miles, not one to get too excited about. Better luck next time...
This page last updated: Wed Sep 20 19:08:06 2017
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