I was camped at the Coalinga Mineral Springs in the heart of the Diablo Range,
just north of SR198. I was after a couple of unnamed summits in the area,
left over from previous visits nine years earlier. Normally, I wouldn't have
made a trip down this way just for these, but my plans for the Clear Creek
Management Area had been interrupted the previous day by unexpected locked
gates. So this was a hastily established consolation prize. Today's peaks
wouldn't keep me busy for even half a day, allowing me to get home by noon.
This summit lies directly west of Coalinga Mineral Springs. In normal years
this is probably a terrible bushwhack. The 2020 Mineral Fire back in July
burned over the ridge and all of Coalinga Mineral Springs, too, making this
a moderately steep climb, but zero brush. It took only 30min
to make my way to the summit,
about 2/3mi from my starting point. Views stretch over a large swath of the
Diablo Range. Twin Peaks and Center Peak can be seen to the north,
Sherman and Kreyenhagen Peaks to the northeast. Smith Peak lies to
the south and Charley Mtn to the west. The early morning sun
washed out the views eastward. I returned the same way.
This summit lies a few miles southeast of Peak 3,008ft, connected by the same
ridge. One can follow the mostly-BLM ridgeline between the two, connected by
a convenient firebreak for much of the way. The easier way is to simply climb
it from the Mineral Springs Rd on the northeast side, a distance of
less than half a mile. Judging by the land management layers on caltopo, the
peak and much of the surroundings are private property. There are signs of
grazing all over, however, there are no fences along the road or along
the route I followed up the NE Ridge. The route is open to view from
the road, but the lack of signs
and fences seems defensible. The PR Ranch lies just west of my starting point
and can be clearly seen from the upper portions of the hike,
but again, no fences were crossed on this route. It took 20min to find my way
to the summit, marked by a stake with a pink ribbon. This summit was
not burned in the 2020 fire, but the 2016 Mineral Fire did a number on it, so
there was no real brush to contend with.
This is a fairly minor summit about 10mi west off SR198. It is found at the
boundary between Monterey and Fresno Counties, along the crest of the Diablo
Range, about 1/3mi north of the highway.
The highway goes over a pass at 2,518ft here, almost unnoticeably. If
coming from the east, a house can be seen atop a small bluff just above the
roadway. The house is abandoned, and an old road on the Monterey side
of the crest offers an easy way to reach the summit. I found it unsigned and
ungated, immediately adjacent to a ranch with a host of beehives in a clearing.
After hiking the short distance up the road, I turned north where it connects
with a steep firebreak running up to the top of Peak 2,860ft. The
highpoint is found in a cluster of trees and vegetation with partial views
across Priest Valley to the northwest and more open views to
the south. The whole roundtrip effort took
less than 20min. I was finished before 9a, possibly the earliest I've ever
called it a day. I checked out some other similar summits on my drive back to
San Jose, but none of them seemed to fit the bill for a daytime visit.