Mail Ridge South P900
Blue Rock
Red Mountain P1K
Reed Mountain P1K

Mon, May 27, 2019
Red Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX Profile

It had been a few weeks since I last summited something. It's not that I hadn't been traveling, in fact I'd been halfway across the country to Milwaukee to see my son graduate from Marquette. But it's pretty darn flat there and the nearest "summit" was the Milwaukee CoHP, found under a bridge abutment at the edge of the county - far too lame to go out of my way to seek out. So after I got back I made plans for a four-day trip to the North Coast along US101, seeking out some P1Ks and CC-listed summits. The morning was spent driving from San Jose north through San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge to Mendocino and Humboldt Counties, leaving me the afternoon for hiking. Most of this area is private property, either for dispersed homesteads, ranches or logging concerns. Luckily there are a number of public roads that climb up into the hills from US101 to provide access to these summits.

Mail Ridge South

Mail Ridge runs for 40mi, virtually a range unto itself, separating the Eel River to the east from the South Fork Eel River to the west. This unnamed summit is the highest point on the ridge and the second most prominent. Gravel/dirt Bell Springs Rd climbs 9mi from US101 to get within 1/3mi of the summit. My route up the northwest side went over a pig fence and up through forest understory with modest brush. There was an abandoned pop-up trailer at the summit. No views from this P900.

Blue Rock

You can't miss this just off the west side of Bell Springs Rd as you drive up. There are homesteads north and south of the large, rocky formation, but it appears one can climb it from the east, going over a fallen fence and then class 2-3 scrambling up mossy rocks to the summit. Very nice views all around from this one.

Red Mountain

This is the most prominent summit in the South Fork Eel River Wilderness, though it seems there may be no legal way to access this northern section of the Wilderness. Red Mtn Rd forks off Bell Springs Rd to get one to the summit in about five miles. Unfortunately, the gate at the fork was locked, presumably because it passes through private property. Dean Gaudet had found the same only a month earlier. Craig Barlow reported no such issue a year earlier, so you may find otherwise. The gate is not signed for No Trespassing, so I suspect it's ok to hike the road. Rather than make a 9-10mi hike of it, I decided to explore an alternate approach from the west. The western end of Red Mtn Rd climbs up from US101/SR271, a long 14mi to get within 2 air miles of the summit. The road is open to the public but not in great shape (high-clearance recommended), allowing access to a number of BLM land parcels. Locked gates are found at the various forks at the end of the road, none of them providing direct access to the Wilderness or the BLM land that Red Mtn resides in. The property on the Red Mtn side of the road is owned by a private hunting club. I figured there was little chance of seeing anybody out here, well outside hunting season. I hiked about 3mi each way, following hunting roads to their property boundary with the final mile through the Wilderness on BLM land. No views from the summit. I stacked up some rocks and left a register at what I guessed was the highest point. Some views could be had back down closer to where I had started off Red Mtn Rd. In the end I didn't save any time because the drive took over an hour each way, but this route is shorter, a lot more remote and doesn't go by any homesteads.

Reed Mountain

This P1K is only about 3.5mi of gravel/dirt road driving off US101. Reed Mtn Rd passes by within 0.2mi of the summit on the north side. I parked on the edge of the roadway and went up the steep north side, gaining 400ft before reaching the top. Though also buried in the trees, the summit is somewhat pointy and found atop a clump of rocks with a dilapidated survey tower. I found a reference mark but couldn't located the benchmark itself. I should have left a register on this one too, but I forgot to bring one with me. There are several homesteads nearby, so best to be quick about it.


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This page last updated: Fri May 31 17:06:48 2019
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