Hi Mountain 3x P1K CC
Peak 2,316ft P300
Hi Mountain Potrero

Tue, Apr 6, 2021
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX
Hi Mountain previously climbed Thu, May 24, 2018


I returned to the Los Padres NF for a second day to tag a few additional summits I had missed the first day. My wife had been a good sport to join me yesterday, but the rough roads got the better of her stomach and we had to call it quits early to keep from making things worse. Today I was by myself and was able to drive quite a bit faster to get me to the Hi Mtn area. I used the Hi Mtn Lookout Rd from Arroyo Grande, taking about an hour and change from where we were staying in Pismo Beach.

Peak 2,316ft

I drove about five miles northwest of Hi Mountain on the Forest Service road running along the ridgeline. The road was in decent shape, almost any vehicle should be able to navigate it, though high-clearance made it worry-free - no need for 4WD on any of these. Along the way, one passes by several trailheads, including the Rinconada, which descends off the north side to paved Pozo Rd, and the Little Falls TH which descends the south side into Lopez Canyon. Near its end, the road traverses high along the southwest side of unnamed Peak 2,316ft, getting me within a few hundred feet of the top. The short hiking distance was countered by heavy brush, particularly near the very summit. It was not pleasant reaching it, but far from a brutal bushwhack. The summit offers views no better than one can get from dozens of spots along the road. If anyone else had been to the summit, I saw no sign.

Hi Mountain Potrero

This was a pleasant hike of about a mile and a quarter roundtrip. "Potrero" means meadow or pasture in spanish, the placename identifying an unusual grassy hilltop surrounded by some of the densest chapparal the state has to offer. An unsigned trail runs from the main road off the north side, dropping more than 300ft to a saddle with the potrero. The trail appears to be regularly maintained for equestrian travel and marked with colored flagging. The trail continues from Hi Mtn Potrero down a ridge to the northwest, eventually joining Pozo Rd. I don't think there is any public access to the trail at Pozo Rd. There are several points of similar elevation, but the one identified by LoJ is the only one covered in grass, the others covered in dense chaparral and not very potrero-like. There is plenty of poison oak along the route, but the trail mantenance makes it easy to avoid.

Hi Mountain

This was my third visit to the lookout atop Hi Mtn, repeated here only because it was nearby. On my previous visit in 2018, the summit was socked in, so it was nice to have actual views, even if a bit hazy. A locked gate leaves one about a quarter mile of hiking to the summit and the lookout. With more than 1,000ft of prominence, one can see quite a distance across the Santa Lucia Wilderness and range. An elderly couple were just leaving the summit when I arrived, leaving me alone with the lookout and views. They had camped the night in their Sprinter van at one of the many overlooks that I drove by earlier in the morning. The Hi Mtn lookout cabin was locked as usual, but the observation deck was open for yet better views. It was a lovely day with crisp temperatures, nice breeze, and some fun Jeeping. Time to head back to Pismo to rejoin my wife...

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