Bee BM P500
Peak 3,578ft P300
Del Sur Ridge P300
Deer Peak P300

Wed, Dec 26, 2018

With: Jim Burd

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

The intent was to work off a bit of holiday overindulgence with some hikes in the Liebre Range, near where my sister lives in Santa Clarita. It ended being more of a jeeping adventure, letting the vehicle doing the brunt of the work. Three of the four summits were drive-ups, thanks to the Forest Service road along Del Sur Ridge. This 12mi-long ridge separates San Francisquito and Bouquet Canyons in the southeast portion of the range. A USFS dirt road runs along the length of the ridge, though not directly on the crest. Lesser dirt roads, typically used by motorcyclists, follow along the crest, though these can be used by jeeps and other vehicles with sufficient clearance and 4WD. There are several access points to Del Sur Ridge from the east off paved Bouquet Canyon Rd. These are signed as "Del Sur Ridge 3[mi]" with the typical brown signs along the roadway. Maps may show another access point at the Bouquet Reservoir Dam, but this is gated and closed to the public.

We used the upper of the two access roads to reach Del Sur Ridge Rd, then drove northeast to Bee BM, our first stop, using a spur road from the north. This was a relatively easy drive to the summit with little brush and no need for 4WD. The summit is the highpoint of Del Sur Ridge, though LoJ has another point to the southwest called Del Sur Ridge (which we visited later). There was the expected benchmark here and a John Vitz register dating from May of this year. The higher Sierra Pelona rises to the east across Bouquet Canyon while Jupiter Mtn rises higher to the north.

We next drove back to Del Sur Ridge Rd, then north to another spur, this one rougher and a bit overgrown, getting us within about half a mile of our second summit, unnamed Peak 3,578ft. There is a nice view of Bouquet Reservoir to the north. The hike to the summit followed an old track which still sees occasional motorcycle traffic, but is far too overgrown for jeeps or even ATVs. The route was a bit steep with a few ups and downs, but as the only exercise we would get today, neither of us minded in the least.

Back at the jeep, we once again returned to Del Sur Ridge Rd, this time turning south and returning the way we'd come, and then some. The LoJ point called Del Sur Ridge is found about 3mi SW of Bee BM, either a short walk from the good road, or a short drive up a steep spur road. We chose the latter, reaching the open summit quite handily, walking about for a few minutes before returning back to Del Sur Ridge Rd.

Our last summit was a longer, more challenging drive out to what the USFS has named Deer Peak, though it doesn't show up on the topo map. The highpoint is found about a quarter mile north of DEER benchmark where the road begins a steep drop to the west. We examined this continuing road but decided against it - a little too hairy-looking for my liking. It would have allowed us to access a fifth summit, Brushy BM, but that has easier access from San Francisquito Canyon Rd - a future adventure. We returned once again back to Del Sur Ridge Rd and drove ourselves south out the lower access road back to Bouquet Canyon Rd. I think we may have burned up more gallons of gas than kilocalories exerted on this outing. To console ourselves, we drove back to Santa Clarita for a late lunch of poke. Mmmm....

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