Tourmaline Queen Mountain P300

Jun 4, 2022
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile


Toumaline Queen Mountain

I had only a few hours this morning, as most of the day was slated for family affairs. I headed north to the Pala Indian Reservation and the small town of the same name. The giant casino in the middle of it stands in contrast to its more rural surroundings. Tourmaline Queen Mtn, named for the old mine near its summit, overlooks Pala Valley on its north side. The entire hike is on reservation lands and may not be legal, but there were no signs along the route to discourage one. There is a gate at the start of the route that is closed but not locked - it is simply latched with a small carabiner. One could drive on the road past the gate and then halfway up the mountain on a steep road that reaches to a small telecom installation. The road is decently graded but steep. It would have been a piece of cake with the Jeep's 4L gearing. I thought this might be intruding more than necessary on the reservation, so I parked outside the gate and did it all on foot. The route is described by Mark McCormick in his 2012 TR, and shown on Miriam Khamis' GPX track from 2019, both on PB.

It was heavily overcast this morning, leaving me delightfully cool temps and poor views, a fair trade-off. I got started shortly after 6a, passing through the gate and walking the good road at the base of the mountain a short distance to the junction with the steeper, lesser-used road. It took a little less than 30min to find my way to the top of the road where the telecom antenna is found. From there, the route goes up the South Ridge. A use trail, not evident to start, is soon discovered and useful to avoid any real bushwhacking. I lost it in a few places, but never had any brush to fight through. Near the top it peters out, but the brush is lighter and there are some old roads traversing across the slopes, related to the old mines (on the way down, I stumbled upon the mine shaft to the White Cloud Mine). I got to the summit in under an hour, finding it touching the lower reaches of the cloud layer. Mark Adrian had left a register here in 2018 with a small handful of entries since then. I returned back down via the same route, finishing up by 7:50a, for a total of one hour and forty minutes. I think this might be my shortest day in the last month...


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