Peak 1,962ft P300
Peak 2,300ft P300
Peak 2,262ft P300
Peak 1,951ft P300
Peak 2,001ft P500
Peak 2,048ft P300

Fri, Apr 12, 2019
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I was in back Southern California to meet up with my wife who was reffing beach volleyball over the weekend. We spent the morning together before she had to head off in the afternoon for the start of play, leaving me to do some peakbagging. My original plan was to drive up to the top of SR74 in the Santa Ana Mtns to ply the dirt truck trail along the crest of the range to tag a few neglected summits. I found the forest road closed (to vehicles and foot traffic alike) at the highway to visitors due to fire damage, so I switched gears and headed east into Riverside County for some unnamed summits east of Lake Elsinore. Road construction on the highway east of the summit had traffic backed up for miles, which meant it would be much later than I had hoped before I got started on foot.

Peak 1,962ft

This peaks is part of a conservation parcel managed by the Center for Natural Lands Management, just east of Lake Elsinore and Interstate 15. The lands between Interstates 15 and 214 are mostly treeless, rolling hills covered in tall grasses and brush. I used a track by Michael Sulivan to make a looping route about a mile and a half in length. When I got out of the car at the end of Scenic Ridge Dr, there was a guy on horseback 50yds off, sort of watching me. I thought maybe he was there to keep me from trespassing as I hadn't yet discovered it was on land open to the public. After reading the sign and figuring it was ok to be there, I went over the railing and followed along a use trail. It turns out the equestrian was one of three there to rustle up a wayward cattle that had wandered off from the rest of the herd. They warned me to keep a wide berth as they worked to get it tied up and under control. I continued up the trail to the summit in about 20min where I found a nice view overlooking Canyon Lake to ,4>the southeast. It does not appear that the informal trails get much use as I found them mostly overgrown. Perhaps the presence of cattle keep the locals from using them, or perhaps they're just not all that inviting. When I got back to the jeep, I found my exit blocked by a cattle trailer. It took the trio some time to get the steer and the two horses secured inside, after which they drove off down through the residential neighborhood to take their load back to the ranch on the other side of the summit.

Peak 2,300ft

Located about a mile and a half south of Canyon Lake, the peak features a water tank. I accessed it via gravel Lost Rd to the west of the peak. Just past an abandoned property one can find a route without fence or sign, climbing cross-country up the steep west side. It took less than 15min to reach the top with a view southeast to the highpoint of the Sedco Hills, a summit I had visited previously. Peak 2,300ft's highest point is a rock just outside the fence surrounding the water tank, so no need to breech the formidable razor-wire fence. To the northwest could be seen Peak 2,262ft, and it was to this that I next turned my attention.

Peak 2,262ft

Found on the west side of Lost Rd, less than a mile from Peak 2,300ft, this summit lies on some sort of land trust property. To the south is an informal OHV area and I had some fun driving the jeep up to a saddle on a ridge about a quarter mile south of the summit. There is a fence here, indicating motor vehicles are prohibited further north. From where I parked, I headed downhill on an overgrown road, then other tracks to climb up to Peak 2,262ft. There was a small memorial plaque calling this DJ's Peak. Nice views of the surrounding hills, still very green from this season's abundant rainfall. I had picked this route to allow me to also access the PB-only summit of Guadalupe Hill that was on the way.

Peak 1,951ft

The last three peaks are all located southeast of Canyon Lake, on either side of Canyon Hills Rd, above the suburban community in the valley below. I climbed Peak 1,951ft from the southeast, starting from Hillside Dr. After climbing up a drainage culvert, I found a use trail that conviently makes its way to the top of the grassy hill. It took about 15min for the short roundtrip effort.

Peak 2,001ft

I used another Michael Sullivan track to climb this and PB-only Pt. 1,893ft from the south off Heather Ridge Rd. Access is above a drainage culvert on the north side of the road where no homes are present. It's not obvious from the start, but there is use trail that can make it easier to get up the brushy slopes. Once on the ridge above, an old track runs left to Peak 2,001ft and right to Pt. 1,893ft, both easy hikes. Peak 2,001ft has two closely spaced summits. The track goes to the western point where a wooden cross is found, made from 2x4s and painted white. The other summit is a little brushy to get to and appears to be slightly higher. Pt. 1,893ft has the best of both worlds in a red part of the state - a white cross with an American flag attached - no need for separation of Church and State here. Views from both summits take in the upscale suburban neighborhoods of Canyon Lake found north and south of the ridge. The manmade lake has two arms called Canyon Bay and East Bay that were intricately designed to maximize the number of lake front properties, each with a dock and boathouse - not bad for what would otherwise be considered a desert community.

Peak 2,048ft

This last summit is found on the south side of Canyon Hills Rd, on private property. Starting from the end of Piedmont Dr, one has to walk past No Trespassing signs to gain access to the grassy slopes. There do not appear to be any residences up here, so little chance of upsetting anyone. My ascent route was mostly cross-country, the descent down an old road, a smaller variation of a Mike Sullivan looping route I had on my GPSr. The summit wasn't much, just a rounded hump the old road travels over. Views north and west cover the newer suburban developments, while those east and south look over the older, more rural homesteads. It was after 7p by the time I found my way back to the jeep, just after sunset. That would be enough for one afternoon...


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