Peak 4,159ft P300
Peak 2,370ft P300
Sunshine Mountain P300
Oak BM P300

Fri, Jun 3, 2022
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX


Today I headed to the Cleveland NF between Julian and Four Corners for a collection of short hikes. It's a long drive from Rancho Bernardo, about an hour and a half, so I was up at 4:30a so that I could get started around sunrise. All of the peaks are accessed via Eagle Peak Rd and Cedar Creek Rd, a pair of USFS roads that go deep into the forest. Eagle Peak Rd is well-graded and suitable for any vehicle. Cedar Creek Rd, requiring high-clearance (but not 4WD), was used to access Sunshine Peak.

Peak 4,159ft

The most recent TR on PB from Chris Griffith in 2017 mentions that access is now questionable. On his site, he mentions a "dangerous property dispute" but provides no details. Maps show the route from the south, about half mile, is all on Forest lands. The satellite view shows a homestead on the north side of the peak, just outside the forest. It was unclear what the problem might be, but I decided to do this one first to minimize the chance of encountering other folks. I had gotten up extra early so that I could start around 6a. I parked just off Eagle Peak Rd near the junction with the spur road going to the property. I went up a fairly direct line towards the summit, favoring grass slopes to avoid the brushier places. I came across some USFS signage along an old fenceline lower on the peak, but it looked old and outdated and no longer relevant. Just below the summit, at a saddle between the lower south summit and the higher north summit, I came across a maintained barbed-wire fence that I guessed related to the dispute. It appears that the fence was placed within Forest lands and the property owner probably thinks he owns the summit. Maybe he does, who knows? I passed between two strands of the fence and made my way to the summit, just over 15min from the start. I looked around for a register but didn't look too hard. I figured anybody thinking they owned this mountain would make trash of any register they found. I returned back down the same way, never seeing another soul or vehicle.

Peak 2,370ft

This summit lies just west of the western end of Eagle Peak Rd. This is the eastern TH for the popular hike to Cedar Creek Falls. I had been to the western TH near Four Corners a few days earlier, so it was nice to get this other perspective. There is an unsigned, gated road going up from here around the south side of the mountain to a private inholding. The road hasn't had traffic in years, so I figured it was safe to hike along it. As I got around the corner, I found No Trespassing signs along the road and could see a trailer in the distance ahead of me. I suspect it is not regularly occupied, but decided to give it a wide berth by leaving the road and hiking along the East Ridge. Others had simply hiked the ridge starting from the end of Eagle Peak Rd. The satellite view shows what looked like some thick brush along this ridge, which is why I had planned to approach from the south. I was happy to find that a decent use trail makes its way through the brush to keep from having to do any bushwhacking. It took less than 30min to find my way to the summit. The peak isn't very high, but it sits near the confluence of Cedar Creek and the San Diego River, both of which cut deep gorges through the mountains to provide dramatic relief. Higher summits can be found on three sides, including Eagle Peak to the south and Mt. Gower to the northwest. Mark had left a register here in 2018, with a few additional entries. On the return I followed the ridge directly down the TH. The use trail was nowhere to be found on the lower slopes, but the brush is easier to avoid here, mostly a lot of grass and thistles.

Sunshine Mountain

This was the deepest summit I visited, about an hour from the pavement. I had to drive about 4mi along Cedar Creek Rd which starts at the end of Eagle Creek Rd. A sign warns of no maintenance and not suitable for passenger cars. I found it in decent shape, 4WD not needed though some clearance is. I imagine the road's condition can vary from time to time, changing with fires and floods. The road intially drops about 250ft to cross Cedar Creek, then climbs up the Kelly Creek drainage on the south side of Sunshine Mtn. My starting point was along Cedar Creek Rd, about a mile due south of Sunshine's summit. The topo map shows spur roads crossing Kelly Creek and climbing close to Sunshine Mtn's summit, but these are no longer open to vehicle traffic. They are still useful for foot traffic, and make light work of the brush that otherwise would make this a bear. I followed the old roads for about 20min, until I was just past a saddle on the SE side of the mountain. I then struck off cross-country with about a quarter mile remaining. I soon came across the first of what would become many ducks that marked a route through the brush and rocks that makes this much easier. I found the summit register below the summit rocks which can be climbed directly as class 3 or class 2 with a little brushwhacking. Not sure why the register was left below, but I moved it back to the summit where a small collection of rocks showed it had once resided in the past. The register dated to 2014, left by a Monday Maniacs party that included John Strauch, Mark Adrian, Richard Carey and six others. It was surprisingly busy, with more than 30 pages of entries - far, far more than I could have guessed this obscure summit would attract. I returned back via the same route, taking about an hour and a quarter for the roundtrip effort.

Oak BM

I drove back out along Cedar Creek Rd and Eagle Peak Rd, returning to near where I started for the first peak. Oak BM is about a miles southwest of Peak 4,159ft. Oak BM lies about a quarter mile south of Eagle Peak Rd and all on Forest lands. It does not have any trail to the summit and is quite steep, and there is much poison oak making things somewhat difficult. I read the TRs and used a route that seemed most popular. Someone mentioned a use trail, but I saw only fleeting signs of one. Once on the summit ridge, the brush and yet more poison oak to dance around to reach the highpoint. It took about 25min to reach the highpoint where US Army Corp of Engineers BM is found. Oddly, the summit register is found just to the north at a lower rock with one of the reference marks. An older register was placed by Terry Flood in 2013 and was already full. Richard Carey had left a second one early in 2022. There's a nice view to the Nicols Ranch below to the east. I returned down via much the same route, finishing up back at the Jeep by 10:30a. The flies had just started to become a nuisance and it seemed like a good time to call it a day...

Kearny Mesa

This was a bit of stat padding, or working on the Completion Theorem. I was driving with Jackie to the wake for my mother-in-law at El Camino Mortuary and stopped for this drive-up without telling her where we were going until we arrived at an unremarkable street with unremarkable houses where LoJ has the highpoint located. Very silly.


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