Cane Peak P300
Isabella Peak

Thu, Oct 7, 2021
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX


Cane Peak

Cane Peak is located on the north side of Wofford Heights and SR155, west of Lake Isabella. The French Fire swept around and through parts of the forest community earlier in the summer. I was struck by how close the fire had gotten to many of the homes without burning them. In some cases, the fire would sweep through the yards between homes, crossing roads and driveways, the home almost miraculously untouched. This minor peak lies below Split Mtn, near the BLM lands and the edge of the Sequoia National Forest. Most of it seems to be surrounded by private homes, making access difficult. Recently, while looking at satellite views, I noticed to the southwest a dirt road that Google labels as "Easement." That's an inviting name. It appears to provide access to a corner of BLM land about a quarter mile from SR155 (also called Evans Rd). I had driven in on this road the night before and slept in a large, flat clearing near the defunct Regan Mine. In the morning, I was up before sunrise, starting off at 6:45a.

The road is blocked just past the clearing by a pole laid sideways across the road. Past this, the road switchbacks down to the gulch on the west side of Cane Peak. A backhoe is found there, used to do some clean-up work after the fire. Once on the other side, I went up the steep, torched slope to gain the South Ridge where I found a wide firebreak had been bulldozed all the way up to the summit. It did not stop the fire from sweeping over the mountain, but the fire was arrested just before reaching the homes at the base on the east and south sides. I walked up the firebreak to reach the open summit in about 20min's time. There are good views of Black Mtn to the west, Split Mtn to the north, Lake Isabella and Wofford Heights to the southeast. Clouds from a weak storm and smoke from the Sequoia Fires combined to wash out much of the distance views. I'm not sure if the summit is owned by an individual or the community collectively, as there were no signs or fences that I came across anywhere on the route. I returned back the same way.

Isabella Peak

This summit is found on the west side of Lake Isabella on lands managed by the USFS. There is a dirt road from SR155 going over a saddle on the northwest side of the summit, but it is blocked by a locked gate at the highway. It is used to access a private inholding on BLM lands west of the USFS lands. Alternatively, the Isabella Peak Trail gets you to the summit in about 1.5mi, starting from the Hungry Gulch campground. The CG was closed on my visit, but I simply parked on the east side of the highway and walked to the trailhead. At an unsigned fork just past the TH, I turned left to follow the path going around and partially up the east side of Pt. 3,296ft (a PB-only summit). Isabella Peak comes into view to the south near another trail junction. The left fork traverses the south side of Pt. 3,296ft to the aforementioned saddle, then spiraling up to Isabella Peak, taking about 25min. There is a 15-foot class 3 summit block that can be surmounted on the north or west side, not terribly difficult. There is a view bench on the east side of the summit block, near the benchmark. There are good views of the lake to the east and south. On my way back, I paid a visit to Pt. 3,295ft, Isabella's higher neighbor with better views. For some added fun, I descended the north side of Pt. 3,295ft cross-country down steep, grassy slopes to intersect another branch of the trail system on that side. This easily led back to the campground and the trailhead I'd started from. It wasn't yet 9a when I finished up, but I'd run out of summits in the area and decided to head for home...

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