Peak 1,993ft P900
Peak 1,937ft P300
Peak 2,430ft P300
Peak 2,577ft 2x P750
Peak 2,528ft P300

Nov 1, 2023
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX
Peak 2,577ft previously climbed Jan 23, 2013

I was due to meet friends in Pismo Beach later in the afternoon and was looking for some peaks to keep me occupied for the day. I found a handful in the Gabilan Range, a combination of hiking and Jeeping that made for a pretty fun day.

Peak 1,993ft - Peak 1,937ft

Peak 1,993ft had first come to my attention about ten years ago when I was going after P900s across California. It lies on the east side of Reliz Canyon in a corner of the Los Padres National Forest. There are numerous private inholdings along the canyon and it's difficult to discern where the public lands end or start. The locals don't make it any easier, making generous use of No Trespassing signs to discourage outsiders. I ended up parking along Reliz Rd almost due west of Peak 1,993ft. I assumed the signs on the east side of the road were overzealously placed, but in hindsight it appears these are accurately private property. The NF lands don't start until one gets on the east side of Reliz Creek, which means it is entirely surrounded by private property with no legal access.

I started out at 9a, first crossing the nearly-dry creek before heading up the West Ridge. The slope is incredibly steep and covered in rough brush. Cattle have grazed the slopes, leaving many trail threads that allow one to work through the brush without any real bushwhacking. The slope relents some about 2/3 of the way up, and eventually an old road (no longer driven) is reached that can be followed the rest of the way to the top. It took less than 40min to cover the mile distance to the summit. A serviceable road comes up from the south where a flat valley at head of Monroe Canyon holds a sizeable ranch. At the summit there was a covered wooden structure that looked to have been built for picnics with a view. There is also a barbed-wire fence running between Peak 1,993ft and Peak 1,937ft, about 2/3mi to the northeast. The better road is on the SE side of the fence, but I stayed on the NW side to follow the crappier road to the NW (at this point I was confused about the land ownership - the maps showed both sides of the fence as NF lands) because that side looked neglected and less likely to bring me trouble. It took less than 20min to make it between summits. This second one was definitely outside the NF lands, but there was no way to tell that judging from the roads and fences - it all looked like private ranch lands. I was back down to Reliz Canyon less than 2hrs after I'd started out. I was happy to see no vehicles, no people, and no notes left on my Jeep. I changed out of my boots and headed off soon after.

Peak 2,430ft

I returned to US101 and headed south, turning off at San Ardo to follow the dirt Lockwood - San Ardo Rd into the BLM's Williams Hill Recreation Area. I had also been to this area 10yrs earlier to visit Williams Hill, a P1K. Peak 2,430ft is located on the north side of the road on a fun BLM road that goes all the way to the summit. The Jeep had no trouble driving to the top where one can't help but be disappointed that the entire summit is littered with shooting detritus. The redeeming feature I found to be the continuing road which would allow me to continue the Jeeping adventure some additional miles to the north.

Peak 2,577ft

This summit is located on the north side of paved Lockwood - San Lucas Rd, about four miles northwest of the previous peak. I enjoyed the drive along the ridgecrest that separates the Salinas Valley from Lockwod/Ft. Hunter Liggett. It does not seem like this section of road beyond Peak 2,430ft gets much traffic as I found plenty of encroaching brush that would help keep the dust off the side of the Jeep. I was happily driving along until I came down the last slope to the paved road, only to find a locked gate blocking my escape. This was a bit puzzling because I had come across no gates, no fences, no signs anywhere along the route. Later I found that the BLM land does not extend between the two roads as I'd hoped - it seems that the land adjacent to the paved road is private (as signed on the other side of that gate). I thought I might have to drive all the way back to the Lockwood - San Ardo Rd, but there was an alternative escape on a little-used side road that went through two closely-spaced bushes and onto the pavement with no fanfare - nice! A short distance west on the pavement is the BLM road going up to Peak 2,577ft. I had been to this summit once before, but had to walk the 1.5mi to the summit since I had no Jeep at the time. This time I drove right to the top like the previous peak, but thankfully no primitive shooting range. Like the previous peak, I noticed the BLM road continues to the north. It seemed worth exploring, if nothing other than to enjoy the drive.

Peak 2,528ft

Like previously, the BLM land ended after another mile or so, only this time there was a gate indicating private property at the boundary. I noticed Peak 2,528ft was not much more than a mile to the west, and decided to see if I could pay it a visit. It turns out I could, and no bushwhacking required. There is a whole network of roads on the private property past the BLM lands none of them showing any recent use. The locked gate had been circumvented by driving around it, but I decided not to drive on the private property I would visit - I feel like an owner would be less pissed to find me on foot as opposed to driving my Jeep in there. And it turned out to be good idea for another reason - the continuing road has seen almost not traffic for years and is pretty overgrown - I'd have had a hard time turning around where the road got bad. But on foot it was fine, and I spent about 45min to reach the summit via a series of roads that crossed several property boundaries. I did make one wrong turn and ended up with about 100yds of brutal and equally unnecessary bushwhacking, but that was entirely my fault. An old and no longer driveable road led up the last 1/3mi to the summit. It was nothing special, but it felt pretty remote and I left a register there, the only one I left on the day. I reversed the route and was back to the Jeep by 2:40p. I was a little surprised how enjoyable the whole day was. The very fine weather probably had a lot to do with it...

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