Kern County Highpoint Trip Report
Sawmill Mountain (8,818 ft)
Date: December 16, 2005
Author: Kevin Baker
There are quite a few reliable and informative trip reports regarding these two
easy southern California county highpoints, so I will keep this report short.
I decided to bag these two after a one-day offsite meeting for work in Ojai.
I approached Piños from Ojai via the following:
- CA-33 north 38 miles to Lockwood Valley Road.
- Lockwood Valley Road east 27 miles to Cuddy Valley Road.
- Cuddy Valley and Mount Piños Road west-southwest 14 miles to Mount Piños Nordic Center.
It appeared on my map software that Seymour Creek Road off of Lockwood Valley
Road would have saved me quite a few miles but I couldn't find it. The drive is
about 80 miles from Ojai via this route, so the standard route from I-5 would
probably still be quicker given that it took me nearly two hours on consistently
curvy mountain driving. Also, Lockwood Valley Road could be impassable at times
in the spring as there are a few washes to cross, one of which was flowing in December.
As for the hike, from the Nordic Center at 8300 feet, I followed the road and
left it in the open meadow below the summit of Pinos, climbing the southeast slopes.
I arrived in 30 minutes as there was a worker tending the radar facility.
I didn't see a register on the true summit. I then visited the
candidate liner hp for Kern about 100 yards north of Pinos summit.
My GPS registered 8818 feet at this location, so the difference
with Sawmill is very close. Visit both points.
I bushwhacked back down to the trail, which skirts the summit to the south.
I stayed on the annoying numerous switchbacks down Pinos and arrived on Sawmill at 11:13,
a short 33 min hike from Pinos. My GPS registered 8813 feet at the large cairn.
I signed the newest register in a canister that had about 5 pads of entries.
I had all day, so I continued on to nearby 8000er Grouse Mountain to the west,
another pleasant, 30-minute stroll. I left Grouse at 12:20, returning to the
car at 2 pm. Temperatures started out in the low 40's topping out in the mid 50's,
very pleasant for mid-December. Snow cover was very sparse. The views to
the snow covered Sierras were nice.
If you have limited time in southern California, these two cohps are great candidates.
Climb statistics: 9 miles RT, with 2,550 feet of elevation gain
(with a side trip to Grouse Mountain) from the Mount Piños Nordic Center (8,300 ft).