Copperopolis Mountain P300
Peak 1,745ft P300
Carson Hill P300
Peak 1,894ft P300
Bald Mountain
Telegraph Hill
Peak 2,425ft P300

Apr 5, 2023
Carson Hill
Bald Mountain
Telegraph Hill
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPX

I decided it was time to visit the Sierra for the first time this year, a quick overnighter that would give me two days in the foothills along SR49. Four of these peaks came from Kerry Breen's (Marcus Sierra, on PB and LoJ) collection, the others just semi-random ones found in the same area around the New Melones Reservoir. Most of these are on private property.

Copperopolis Mountain

The mountain is found west of the reservoir, adjacent to the small community of the same name. There is an old road, infrequently used, found running up the NW Ridge from SR4, about a mile each way. There was evidence of usage within the past month, so not exactly abandoned. The summit ridge is rounded and rather long, not much in the way of views - off to the west was best. A transmission line runs east-west across the summit ridge north of the highpoint. There are some water and salt stations found for the cattle that graze here, though none were seen today. I was about 50min for the roundtrip, slower than Kerry's 44min. :-)

Peak 1,745ft

This summit is found within the New Melones Recreation Area, on the north side of the lake. I used Kerry's starting point at the Angel Creek Trailhead. Like him, I followed the trail behind the restroom only a short distance before heading cross-country up the lovely green slopes. Travel is very easy with the short grass and open terrain under the oak forest canopy. There are a couple of barbed-wire fences to go through/over on the way to the summit. There is a very cool, old rockwall found near the top. Much time and effort was spent on building this, probably a hundred years ago. Views are somewhat limited from the summit due to trees.

Carson Hill

Much of this mountain has been carved out as a quarry over many years. It is found on the NE side of the lake, immediately east of SR49. I noticed the main gate on the north side was closed, so I figured there was no work carrying on there currently. I used Kerry's approach from the southwest side. There is an old paved road that is gated at the highway, but appears to be used to access the recreation area. There are no signs at all, and another gentleman was just starting on it with his dog. I followed the road much as Kerry did for the first quarter mile, then starting deviating. I noticed what looked like an old firebreak running steeply up the SW side through heavy brush and went looking for it. I found a good trail traversing the mountain at the 1,600-foot level. I followed this until I was past where I'd seen the trail above, now looking up steep grass slopes on the south side. I went up the open slopes to the summit where I found great views of the reservoir to the southwest and directly down on the quarry to the north. On the way down, I found the firebreak I was looking for, actually more like a trail, that appears to be still maintained. It led me straight down to very near where I picked up the traversing trail on the southwest side. A fun little summit.

Peak 1,894ft

This one is found on the SE side of the reservoir. No ascents found on PB or LoJ. Having studied the satellite view back at home, I found a workable route starting near the end of Dante Drive on the north side of the peak. I turned off on an old, unused road before reaching the residence at the end of Dante Dr. Parking here, I followed the old road south towards the summit, about half a mile away. The last quarter mile was easy cross-country. I found some relics at the summit and weak views of the lake and surrounding hills. Not a particularly interesting summit, all said, but left a register before heading back.

Bald Mountain - Telegraph Hill

These two summits are found north of Sonora, the highest summits of the day, but neither with much prominence. Both are adorned with telecom installations, and since they had technicians working on-site, I was able to drive through the open gates to the summit. They didn't seem to mind me showing up to take a few pictures and then leave.

Peak 2,425ft

This was the only summit with much hiking, almost 4mi roundtrip. This was a route I borrowed from Levi Cover, starting from the Dragoon Gulch TH in Sonora. I'm not sure how he found this route, but it was pretty darn good. It starts by walking through the 7th Day Adventist retirement community to reach the Vista Trail, then along this for about a mile, out to an overlook, down a firebreak to an old road, then another well-maintained mystery trail that goes more or less directly up to the lower north summit. The last quarter mile follows the telecom access road to the higher summit where the best views of the day are found, open in all directions. On my way back, I tried to make an improvement on Levi's route by avoiding the uphill going back on the firebreak, but that didn't work too well, dropping me down to some private property that I backed out of. Props to Levi on working out this one. And extra props to whoever is making these neat, unofficial trails in the area...


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