Burney Mountain P2K
Inskip Hill P1K
Peak 968ft P500
Peak 670ft P300

May 12, 2018
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2 3 4 Profiles: 1 2


I'd worked through the NorCal P1Ks I had planned in two days rather than the expected three, leaving me with a free day to make it up as I go along. This was more a grab-bag of stuff on the last of a three day road trip - a P2K, a P1K, and a couple of bonus peaks in Solano County as a way to break up the drive home. I spent the night camped in the Jeep on Hatchet Mtn, rising in the morning before 6a. I breakfasted as I drove back down the road to the highway, gassed up in Burney, then headed out for the first stop of the day.

Burney Mountain

This old volcano rises about 6mi south of Burney in Lassen National Forest. It is overshadowed by two other dominate P2Ks to the south, Crater Peak and Mt. Lassen, but is fairly prominent itself as viewed on the drive along SR299 and SR89. There is an improved road on the west side of the mountain going up to the lookout tower that crowns the summit. With only a modest amount of snow showing on the north side of the mountain, I figured the road might be clear, and even with a little snow the Jeep might be up to the challenge - it seemed worth a try. I headed south from SR299 a few miles west of Burney on Tamarack Rd. Most of the land the road goes through is owned by logging interests and there is much activity throughout the area. After a number of miles, a junction is reached with Forest Road 26 (34N19), with a sign indicating Burney Mtn Lookout 11mi heading east. I followed this to the base of the mountain on its southwest side, the turned left (unsigned) for the long drive up. The road was in decent shape for high-clearance vehicles, but I wouldn't have wanted to take the van up. The road had been cleared of snow, but the bulldozer treads left the road churned up a bit in places. There is much rock on the upper half of the mountain where not much seems to grow. I was unfortunate to find myself driving into a cloudbank created at the summit by winds blowing across the mountain. It was 34F outside and probably 30mph winds and here I come driving up in a tshirt and shorts. My outside visit was extremely short - long enough to snap a photo of the summit benchmark and then dive back into the Jeep. There were some views below the cloud layer including a nice one of Hatchet Mtn and its windmills that I had visited the previous evening, but mostly it was a long drive for poor views.

Snow Mountain

Fail - This P1K lies to the west of Burney Mtn and Tamarack Rd in a detached part of Lassen NF. I could find no information on this one, apparently without ascents on PB or LoJ. I was hoping to find a way there utilizing the rediculous amout of logging roads in the area, but that was not as easy in practice as I had hoped. Roads shown on the topo maps were often inaccessible through disuse or blocked by downfall. Logging roads were hard to use because they most often ended abruptly - they are designed to get to a logging area, not as through roads. The most promising road I found leading up to the edge of the forest boundary was gated closed on private lands. After about an hour of such forest wandering, I gave up and headed back to SR299. It appears there may be accessible roads from the west and north and will have to wait for some future endeavor.

Inskip Hill

This is a small volcanic plug in the lowlands northeast of Red Bluff, just high enough to qualify as a P1K. Access is easy enough to the lookout-crowned summit,just be careful about following Google Map directions. Coming from the north, it directed me to a terribly overgrown road that appears to go through private property. I backed off this one and went to the better gravel road closer to SR36. The land on both sides of the road are part of a private hunting club, but the road itself is public, despite the signs on either side that try to suggest otherwise. There is a gate just below the summit with a short walk to the top. There are two points of similar height. The west summit has some poison oak to dance around, the east summit has the lookout tower, both have benchmarks. The views take in the rolling hills of the upper end of the Sacramento River Valley, not terribly dramatic, but nice.

Peak 968ft

A few hours driving got me to Vacaville near the I-505/I-80 junction. Peak 968ft is the highpoint of the Pena Adobe & Lagoon Valley Park and the surround open space. The area seems equally popular with mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers. I took a variation of the GPS track provided by Brett Moffatt on PB, utilizing the free parking on Butcher Rd next to I-80, and wandering in on one of the various trails that criss-cross through the area, mostly unsigned. The hills were a lovely green, unlike most other parts of the state that have already turned to the more usual golden brown. With a modest amount of confusion, I eventually found my way to the telecom installation at the highpoint where I found half a dozen other folks, all seeming to have been called to the same mystical point by some mysterious force. The highpoint has been bulldozed, so no need to breach the security fence to claim the summit. On the way back I took another track closer to the eastern boundary of the park (which butts up against a state prison on that side), past a rather large oak with swing, a couple of other telecom installations (can't have enough cell towers overlooking the 10 lanes of Interstate 80), and eventually down the access road to a bridge over Alamo Creek back near the start. I was a bit worried that I'd wandered down into a trap with a locked gate, but was happy to find it unlocked and just a short walk back to the car.

Peak 670ft

This one is located just across the freeway from Pena Adobe Park. Kudos to David Sanger for finding the easy way to access it. The summit and surrounding area are on private property, but they abutt a neglected parcel of Vacaville City Open Space that can be accessed through a suburban neighborhood on the east side at the end of Grandview Drive. There are no trails in the Open Space and if you choose the wrong time to visit you can end up with socks full of thistles. I arrived perhaps a few weeks before this tragic turn of events, finding the cross-country over grass and oak-covered slopes picturesque. There are cow trails to make this a bit easier, too. There appears to be some construction on the private property, foundations for new ranch homes, perhaps. Halfway to Peak 670ft, one must cross a barbed-wire fence between the public and private properties. A hole has been cut in the lower part of the fence just south of the saddle the fence runs across. From there, one can follow old ranch roads to the summit with swell views overlooking Vacaville, I-80, and the higher hills to the north. It was after 6p by the time I returned to Grandview Dr, with about an hour more driving to get me home to San Jose...

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This page last updated: Thu May 17 12:08:33 2018
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