Twin Peaks West P750
Twin Peaks East

Thu, Jan 5, 2012

With: Steve Sywyk
Bruce Ramstad
Marty Sexton

Twin Peaks West
Twin Peaks East
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It is unusual that I fail in two tries to reach the same summit and perhaps more so because this one involves a hike of only a few miles. Twin Peaks is located in southern Santa Clara County just west of the town of Morgan Hill, lying on private property. The higher west summit is barely 1,500ft high, but has more than 800ft of prominence. There are power lines running over the mountain with a dirt road to service the towers that support them, but access to this dirt road is via a private driveway to a home that lies south of the peak. The first attempt to reach the peak was an ill-fated effort to approach from the north end of Uvas Reservoir, west of the peak. Our "trail" of sorts going up one of the ridgelines deteriorated into a difficult bushwhack made impractical by the presence of poison oak. A second attempt used the same parking location we used on this latest effort, but tried to find a way using another dirt road that unfortunately did not connect to the summit. Cross-country efforts were stopped again by poison oak. This third effort dispatched with the avoidance tactics and simply walked up the private road within about 50ft of the home before turning onto the dirt road leading to the summit.

Finding our way to the end of Shiela drive around 7p, we drove about 1/3 of the way up the private driveway (less than a mile in total length) and took a sharp right onto a dirt road that leads to a wide clearing out of view of the surrounding homes. This was the convenient parking location we had found on the second attempt. We then walked back to the pavement and headed up the steep driveway for about half a mile. The home was easily visible to the left and conveniently became blocked from view as we neared the junction with the dirt access road. There is a large yellow piece of heavy equipment marking the junction, looking to have been there for some years. We turned sharply right and headed up the power line road. We kept quiet for the first five minutes or so until we were well out of earshot from the home, then resumed our conversations. Luckily there were no dogs, no one outside, and no one driving up or down the driveway for the fifteen minutes were on it.

From here the route to the summit is pretty straightforward, following the road up past the lower east summit after about a mile, then down to a small saddle and up to the highpoint of the road where it tops out on the north side of the west summit. An empty corral is located just to the north, a small junk lot just to the south. Turning south, we passed through the junk and followed an old road up the north side as far as we could. This eventually deteriorated to a weak trail and then a bit of a bushwhack to reach the brush-covered summit. There was a small clearing that we could take a break at, but the better views were from along the road.

It was a fine evening, cool but not cold, only a wisp of clouds overhead with a waxing moon about three quarters full. On our way back we stopped at the east summit, accessed from an old road starting at hard-to-spot junction southeast of the summit. This secondary road accesses the tall transmission tower on the west side of the east summit, but the remaining distance to the top is easy and without the need to bushwhack. We returned the same way, undetected in passing the house a second time and descending the driveway to our car.

The hike came in at a bit more than four miles and took about two hours. A relatively quick outing, but enjoyable nonetheless.

boyblue comments on 01/06/12:
Love these 'pri-pro' trip reports.
The Uvas Dam and the ridge that rises up beyond the spillway was one of our favorite party spots in the 1970s. Once, with a full moon, we got curious and went all the way up the ridge to the saddle to check out Morgan Hill. I remember a lot of brush but we encountered very little bushwhacking since there may have been a use trail of sorts at the time.
I hiked up solo to the top of the West Peak from the spillway one day in '79 to practice with a new camera lens. Even during the daylight I don't recall any posted, 'N T' or 'P P' signs, but I imagine that has changed by now.
Anonymous comments on 01/09/12:
the road up hay canyon will take you to the top too.
Bob Burd comments on 01/14/12:
Hay Canyon was going to be my next try if this didn't work out. Might do it again that way in the future anyway.
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