Blue Mountain P750
Olive Hill P750
Pettit Hill P300
Peak 1,981ft P500
Peak 1,890ft P300
Peak 2,444ft P500

Fri, Apr 15, 2022
Etymology
Pettit Hill
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX

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I was in western Riverside County in the Moreno Valley area on an extended peakbagging tour. Today was particularly warm and the low elevations of the summits didn't help much. By 2p I decided I was done for the day, and headed off to find respite from the temps. None of the day's peaks involved much mileage, but that didn't keep me from getting a good workout.

Blue Mountain

This was the most interesting summit of the day. Blue Mtn lies just over the border in San Bernardino County, roughly between the cities of Riverside and San Bernardino. The summit is crowned by several telecom installations and has almost 900ft of prominence. The satellite view shows a service road coming up from the north, and this is the route that most folks take, judging by the ascents found on PB. There are other trails coming from the east and southwest, clearly shown on the satellite view, none of which I actually noted until weeks later when I was doing a proper reconnaissance. I chose to come up from the SSE side where a new neighborhood is under construction and offers the shortest route to the summit, steep and all cross-country. The hike starts in Riverside County and ends up in the neighboring one. I parked where Grazing Ln meets Sage Scrub Rd, a quiet suburb less than a mile from the summit. An unsigned dirt road leads a short distance north to the edge of the properties before disappearing at the foot of the slopes. After ascending moderate slopes to start, it grows steeper as granite blocks and more brush crowd the the slopes. About 40min later the slope relents and I found myself at the open, flattish summit. The highpoint is next to one of the fenced installations, atop a graffiti-scrawled boulder. Views are expansive in all directions, stretching from Mt. Palomar to the south, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio to the east, Mt. Baldy to the northwest, the Santa Ana Mtns to the southwest, and much urbanization between them all, comprising what is known as the Inland Empire. After visiting the summit, I followed a use trail to the south that ended at a rock outcrop. I then returned to my original ascent line and back via nearly the same route, about an hour and a half roundtrip.

Olive Hill

This one overlooks Moreno Valley on its northeast side. There are motorcycle tracks all over the east side between the summit and Reche Canyon Rd, one of them reaching to the summit. A Jeep could drive at least partway up, possibly to the summit. I took the route from the SSW at the end of Kitching St. Though unsigned, the OHV tracks on this side soon lead to a very good trail that winds it way to the summit with some switchbacks. Summit gaffiti per usual, and more along the trail on the way up. A moderately-sized boulder acts as the highpoint. There is no sign of the OLIVE benchmark indicated on the topo map. There is a nice view of Moreno Valley to the south. Just over an hour for the roundtrip effort.

Pettit Hill

As the name suggests, this is a minor summit south of SR60, standing alone between Moreno and San Jacinto Valleys. A utility road runs steeply up from Moreno Beach Dr to a transmission tower on the east side of the hill. There is also parking at the base of the hill next to a neighborhood. I parked under the tower and went up a use trail through granite boulders to the summit in less than 10min. There is the usual graffiti one might expect, and decent views, too. A battered benchmark marked "MORENO" can be found as well.

Peak 1,981ft

The last three summits are all found in the San Jacinto Wildlife Area on the east side of the Lake Perris Recreation Area. Well-graded David Rd cuts N-S through the wildlife area. Signs on the fences on either side of the road indicate permission should first be obtained before entering. The office is further north at the junction with W. Contour Rd. It's a pretty quiet place in the off-season. I didn't bother with permission, figuring it was mostly hunters they needed to keep track of. I parked at the edge of Davis Rd west of the summit and started from there, first crossing a dry, grassy meadow before going up the west side. It took just over 20min to reach the summit where I found a State of California Dept of Water Resources BM from 1968 marked "TAINT", perhaps when surveying for the nearby Lake Perris which was completed in 1973. The view north takes in the next two summits, the lower Peak 1,890ft and the higher Peak 2,444ft. I descended to the south and southwest to take advantage of a less brushy route in that direction. I think it worked a bit better.

Peak 1,890ft - Peak 2,444ft

I visited both of these starting from where David Rd goes over a low saddle. I tackled Peak 1,890ft first, taking all of 15min to reach the top. I left a register here before returning the same way. Once back at the road, I continued west to Peak 2,444ft, following a use trail that I had spied on the way down the previous summit. This led me up only about 1/4 of the way before it petered out. The East Slope then grows progressively steeper with loose footing, making for an unexpected challenge. I clawed and slipped my way up, taking 40min from the road to reach the summit, found just outside the Wildlife Area. There is a nice view to be had to the west of Lake Perris. Views north, east and south take in most of the Wildlife Area. I left a second register here before descending the same way, far faster with gravity and loose soil to help out. It was not yet 2p when I finished up. It was rather warm by this time and I don't think I would have enjoyed more of the same in the afternoon, so I headed off to San Diego where I was due the next morning...

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