Chamisal Mountain P500 CC
Queen Peak P1K
Slacker Hill NN

Jul 16, 2015

With: Jackie Burd

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 3 Profiles: 1 2


On our second and last day in the King Range, I had some easy hikes for Jackie and I to do before heading home. In order to beat the heat we experienced the previous day, I figured we'd get an early start and get done well before noon. The hike to Chamisal was quite lovely, enjoyed by both of us but the latter one was of the sort that only a peakbagger could enjoy.

Chamisal Peak

This CC-listed summit lies south of the Shelter Cove Rd. We used one of the two possible trailheads, the Nadelos group campground off signed and paved Chemise Mtn Rd. The start of the trail is not obvious from the campground as there are at least three bridges over Bear Creek, two of which lead to campsites. We eventually found the trail starting at the third bridge to the east and from the start found it quite nice. It climbs about 800ft in 1.5mi, rising through lusher forest than we had found the previous day at King Peak. There are little brooks with water, ferns and other bright green plants in the understory with leaves covering much of the trail. Reaching the top in about 40min, we found a nice bench at the summit overlook with a serene view towards the north (no ocean views on this one). It was a fine little spot that we enjoyed having to ourselves. We returned in about 30min via the same route.

Queen Peak

This is the second most prominent summit in the King Range after King Peak with 1,400ft of prominence. There is no trail to the summit but an unsigned dirt road passes just north of it. I had expected to walk the two miles from paved Shelter Cove Rd to reach it since this spur road is shown as a jeep trail on the topo map. I was happy to find the road quite driveable, not as good as the Kings Peak Rd, but good enough to drive the low-clearance van on. I probably could have drive right to the base of the final summit climb but a somewhat steep downhill ahead had me stop at a small clearing at the one-mile mark. I don't mind trying to climb such hills on the way to a peak, but not so much on the way back where I have the potential of getting stuck (my $600 towing expense in Hawaii from the previous year was still quite fresh). Jackie joined me for the short walk along the road to the base of the mountain but declined to continue for the cross-country to a summit with no views. So I left her on the road and headed up the steep slope towards the summit less than 1/10th mile distance. Though terribly steep, I actually found it quite fun with clear going on the north slope under cover of forest. I weaved my way along the ridge when I reached it, through tightly-packed tree branches to find the highpoint at a little knoll where three ridgelines come together. I found no David Naylor register on this one like the previous day. I left a small stack of sticks and branches to mark the highpoint. I took a more direct route down to the road on the descent and was quickly back with Jackie. Ten minutes later we were back at the car, done with hiking before 10a.

Humboldt Redwood State Park

On our way back to US101 we stopped at a small grove of large redwoods in the state park. Jackie had wanted to see some big trees and so far all our hiking was through second growth forest. Here along Redwood Creek were some stately specimens hundreds of years old.

Confusion Hill

Jackie had never been to a roadside attraction, the silly little stopping points that sprung up across the nation in the middle of the last century when ordinary folks starting taking to their cars for recreation. Confusion Hill is home to the Gravity House, and for $10 one gets to tour this old two-room structure built specifically for the purpose of amusement. There are all sorts of displays scattered throughout the grounds of Confusion Hill and we spent about half an hour checking them out before heading on our way. A good time was had by all.

Slacker Hill

I surprised Jackie with a stop in Marin Headlands, just before the Golden Gate Bridge. We stopped here two days earlier for an easy stroll to nearby Hawk Hill, but it was only later I realized there was a second summit. I figured a short stop would help us stretch our legs before the final drive through SF and on to San Jose. Unlike the first stop here with beautiful clear skies, today had fog rolling around, keeping the temps cool (about 64F) and visibility fleeting. We spent about half an hour hiking the Slacker Ridge Trail to both the lower west summit and the higher east summit. The wind was blowing strongly which provided Jackie some amusement and later a reason to wrap herself up. It was a nice finish to three easy days in the coast mountains.

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