La Cumbre Peak 3x P1K
Peak 450ft P300
Peak 1,169ft P300
Peak 1,370ft P500
Peak 1,690ft P300
Peak 1,542ft P300

May 13, 2024
La Cumbre Peak
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPX
Cumbre Peak, La previously climbed May 12, 2024


I'd spent the night camped near the summit of La Cumbre Peak in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara. I thought it would be a quiet place to spend the night, but wA surprised by the nighttime traffic along East Camino Cielo. This included a couple of young guys who pulled up around midnight right behind me, then donned headlamps and hiked up to the summit, purpose unknown. Perhaps they were hoping to see the northern lights from the unusual solar storm that hit the Earth this weekend. They came back after a few hours and took off. I was up around 6a when the sun first hit the Jeep. After dressing, I walked up to the lookout to claim an ascent for stat-padding purposes, as well as avail myself of the early morning views. Then I spent the next hour and change driving myself to Oxnard for some hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains. Coastal fog covered most of the range today, so few views, but this was far better than the warm 82F temps I suffered the previous day. Today would never exceed 60F until the last hike that had some sunshine.

Peak 450ft

This minor summit lies on the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains, at the former site of the Camarillo State Hospital, from the pre-Reagan era when we used to lock up non-dangerous people with mental issues. Now we just let them become homeless. The site has now become upscale housing and the CSU Channel Islands campus. There is a service road going most of the way up to the summit, stopping at an underground reservoir just above a couple of water tanks. The satellite view showed the gate at the bottom open and I was happy to find it the same this morning. I suspect they leave it open so folks can walk the road and use trail to the summit. Five minutes from where I parked was all it took to reach the highpoint.

Peak 1,169ft

This summit is less than a mile east of the previous one. A few minutes' drive after auto-touring the campus got me to a turnout on Potrero Rd on the southwest side of the summit. I intended to use an old Edison utility road to get me to the south side where I planned to ascend. Getting to the old road took some moderate bushwhacking across the Long Grade Canyon flood plain - seems the nice grass field depicted in the satellite view is now chest-high weeds. Once on the old road, I followed it around the base of the mountain before starting up cross-country where planned. I didn't realize it, but the private property I had crossed has an established homestead easily visible from the Edison road. I figured the fog would partially block the view, but decided I should find another way down. The way up was steep but very little bushwhacking, getting me to the summit rocks in about 40min. The grasses and bushes I pushed through were damp from the fog, soaking my boots and pants. The summit was completely socked in by the fog. I believe I may have climbed the second highest rock - the adjacent one looked to be 5-6" higher and class 4-5, but nothing I was going to try soloing in wet boots. On the return I went down the SW Ridge which worked out to be brushier, but mostly out of view of the home.

Peak 1,370ft

This one is located between the previous peak to the southwest and Conejo Mtn to the northeast. There is a nice hiking and biking trail network around the upscale homes in Dos Vientos on the east side of the peak. The trick is finding a place to park to access the trails. Seems there are No Parking signs along the main thoroughfares, off of which are gated enclaves. I ended up parking in the wide entrance to one of these enclaves since that part wasn't signed for No Parking. I followed the Del Mar Trail up and around the backside of the housing cluster, past a water feature called Twin Ponds on Google, then on the same Edison Rd I'd used earlier, just at the other end. The single tracks were nice where they could be followed, though one of these had encroaching brush that included some poison oak. I turned right where the Edison road is blocked by a gate. The rest of the route is outside the trail network. It's easy to crawl through the gate, then continue up the road to a second gate, dilapidated and left open. A spur road then continues NW up the slope to service a tower on the lower SE summit. A use trail at the saddle between the two then goes up to the higher NW summit. Again, no views due to the fog. Returning the same way, I spent an hour and a half on this one, about 3mi roundtrip.

Peak 1,690ft

This was the longest hike of the day, about 4mi in total. I started from the Wendy TH off Potrero Rd, NW of the summit. Lower portions of the route travel through the Satwiwa Native American Indian Natural Area. This is a mostly gentle traverse around the west side of the mountain, eventually climbing to meet the Danialson Fire Rd, repurposed as a trail. There were half a dozen other parties I came across on the outing, fairly popular for a weekday. The trail is in good shape most of the way. Where it turns south about a quarter mile from the summit, a use trail that grows progressively more brushy can be followed to the highpoint. There are two closely-spaced points vying for the honors - LoJ has the northern point as higher, but there is rockart at the southern one, and they seemed of equal height to me. An hour and three quarters for the roundtrip.

Peak 1,542ft

This last one is the highpoint of the ridge between Schoolhouse and Skeleton Canyons on the north side of US101. The satellite view shows a trail to the summit from the north, but this starts within the gated community in Schoolhouse Canyon. The public route is about a mile each way, starting on a trail across the street from Westlake High School. The fog had not gotten across the freeway, leaving this the only sunny summit of the afternoon. I parked in one of the school lots, crossed Lakeview Canyon Rd and then started up the trail. It climbs up the west side of the ridge to reach the crest. The trail then turns north and continues about 1/4 of the distance to the summit before veering left and dropping to the adjacent Skeleton Canyon. The remaining half mile is cross-country, not very pleasant with so much fresh brush growning head-level in places. Luckily, it can mostly be pushed aside and waded through, but I picked up far too many stickers and it would take some time to remove them from my boots and socks later. The summit is not easily discerned, views marginal with all the tall stuff about. I did notice the better trail desending the north side of the ridgeline - gotta pay to play on that one.

I finished up after 3p with a few hours of daylight to kill. I planned to hike in the same area the next day, so went off to find a place to shower - not easy with so much suburbia about. I found a really nice spot off Kanan Rd where I could shower and camp off the road and out of sight. I went back to town for some wifi at Starbucks and then some dinner before retiring for the night...


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