Mt. Isabel 2x P750 CC
Peak 2,844ft 3x P300

Wed, Jun 28, 2023
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profiles: 1 2
Mt. Isabel previously climbed Fri, Mar 24, 2006
Peak 2,844ft previously climbed Fri, Mar 29, 2019

Another training day, another visit to Joseph Grant Park. Mt. Isabel is the 2nd highest summit in Santa Clara County, only about a mile south of the higher Copernicus Peak. The entire route to Mt. Isabel falls within the park boundaries, but most of it is located on the eastern section that is not yet open to the public. I started from the Cal Fire station off Mt. Hamilton Rd just after 7a. The park trail is on the left (north) side of the fire station and follows along Smith Creek for about a mile. The trail sees very little traffic and is poorly maintained - watch for encroaching poison oak and downed trees. The trail crosses to the east bank of the creek about the halfway point, then ends about 18min into the hike at a gate at the confluence with Sulphur Creek (this creek separates Mt. Copernicus from Mt. Isabel). The gate is signed for Area Closed/Do Not Enter. I went over the gate and across Sulphur Creek to begin climbing on the old ranch road found on the other side. At first it appears to see occasional use, but it soon becomes clear that no one drives on it any more, and haven't for a while. The hike is a pleasant one, never too very steep. The road deteriorates higher up but is never hard to follow. Views open up to Copernicus and Mt. Hamilton to the north, and eventually the Santa Clara Valley to the west and the remote Isabel Valley to the east. Poison oak is found at various points along the route, but not hard to avoid if one knows what to look for. I reached the summit in a little under two hours, finding a small cairn on one of the two summit rock outcrops. I took up a seat here to take in the views, only to find a minute or two later that ants were crawling all over me - seems I had sat down right on top of their nest or major thoroughfare. It took some doing to shake them off, and a few would be carried back down the mountain some distance before they made an appearance. The descent went considerably faster, only about an hour and a half, and by 10:30a I was back to Mt. Hamilton Rd.

The outing had come in at something like 7.5mi and 2,000ft of gain. To get a bit more workout in (and pad my stats for June), I decided to pay a visit to Peak 2,844ft, starting from the higher trailhead where Mt. Hamilton Rd tops out before dropping back down into the main portion of the park. This added another 3mi and 600ft of gain with nice views along most of the route that follows a rounded ridgeline. Upon my return I spotted a guy walking around my car, inspecting it. Turns out he was driving by and noticed his identical twin parked at the TH. His was the same green 2000 Miata but with a few modifications like aftermarket wheels and exhaust. We both found it pretty amusing. It wasn't yet noon when I finished up, changing out of my boots and heading for home before it got too warm. Another fine day in the South Bay...

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This page last updated: Fri Jun 30 18:54:53 2023
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