San Bruno Mountain P1K CC / NN

Sat, May 1, 2010

With: Ryan Burd

Story Photos / Slideshow Map Profile
later climbed Thu, Nov 5, 2020

Ryan wasn't altogether enthusiastic about a hike with Dad, but he didn't really have much choice. Mom and sister were in Sacramento for the day for a volleyball tournament, leaving Ryan and I to fend for ourselves. I made the deal that we'd do one thing Dad wanted to do, then something Ryan wanted, but Dad's outing went first - one of the perks of being the parent.

San Bruno Mtn is a not-so-high mountain on the southern border of San Francisco. The mountain is one long ridgeline running northwest-southeast for four miles, the highpoint topping out at just over 1,300ft. There are a a variety of telecom towers found along the higher points of the ridge, but most of the land is owned by the state and county as parkland for public enjoyment. There are some trees to be found in a number of groves, mostly eucalyptus and other non-native species. The hillsides are densely covered in a variety of shrubs, vines, and flowering plants, owing their health to the damp fogs that roll in over the area for much of the year. There was a good deal of poison oak to watch out for on the various trails we used - Ryan was understandably more nervous than I since he was wearing shorts and far less observant than I. The sky was hazy but sunny, without any fog. A wind provided a chill, but not enough to need the light jackets we carried with us.

I followed the easy directions from US101 given on SummitPost, paying the $5 fee and parking at the lot and trailhead south of the main road, through the underpass. We took the more direct Ridge Trail to the summit area, Dad pausing to take pictures of poppies, wild iris, paintbrush, and other flowers that we in abundance about the hillsides. After following the trail for more than a mile, we found our way to the highpoint making use of the paved road for a short distance and a use trail of sorts we found on the east side of the summit that follows along just outside one of the telecom fences. The highpoint is covered by an old wooden platform that once held some equipment that has been abandoned and mostly removed. There was a locating marker placed in 1932, but no sign of the actual benchmark - it may be located under some shrubs inside the fenced area, or possibly destroyed when the more modern towers were erected. There are views of the five bay bridges on clear days, but we could only see a few of them today. Scarper Peak and Montara Mtn lie to the south, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Mt. Tamalpais to the north, and Mt. Diablo across the Bay to the east.

I tried to bribe Ryan into a longer hike along the crest of San Bruno Mountain for several miles to the east, but he was having none of it. I wasn't feeling like I could force this one so I let it go - there's always another day I could come back if I like. We took the Summit Loop Trail heading northwest along the crest as a scenic alternative to the same route we took up. There were probably two dozen folks we passed on the way up and down, not surprising considering its proximity to such a large urban population. The whole outing was just over 1.5hrs, with about 600ft total gain and a little more than three miles. The best part of the whole outing for Ryan was the small snake he managed to catch when we got back to the TH parking lot - made the whole outing worth it.

Ryan chose bowling for the afternoon activity, btw. Without embarassing myself by revealing our scores, I'll only say that I can still beat him, but not by much...

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For more information see these SummitPost pages: San Bruno Mountain

This page last updated: Sat May 1 18:51:28 2010
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