Monterey County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: March 8, 2008
Author: David Keller

Driving to the Trailhead

I met up with my uncle at Jolon at 8:30 AM. From there, we drove down Mission Road, entered Hunter Liggett Military Reservation, and turned left onto Del Ventura Road. Unfortunately, the road was closed due to flooding from the creek. It had not rained in a few weeks. Also, in order to enter the military base, you need vehicle registration and proof of insurance, and each passenger needs identification.

The alternate route we took was to continue down Mission Road, past the mission, until it ended at Milpitas Road (which is nicely paved). When you drive past the mission, you will notice a sign that threatens to prosecute unauthorized vehicles. We asked the game and wildlife worker about this sign and he said that everybody is allowed to drive on that road.

At the end of Mission Road, turn right onto Milpitas Road and continue toward Memorial Park campground. The parking lot and trailhead are 0.1 mile before you reach Memorial Park campground. There's also a trailhead at Memorial Park campground. DO NOT go on that trail. The correct trail is 0.1 mile before reaching the campground.

Hiking on the Trail

The first five miles or so of the hike were pleasant. Following the trail is pretty straightforward. One thing to note, when you encounter the sign that says the peak is two miles away, make sure to take the trail leading to the right. It wasn't totally clear to me.

At around 5,000 feet or so, we started encountering snow. At first, seeing the snow was kind of neat. Then the whole trail was covered in snow and walking on it was very difficult. The snow was very hard, and we had to hold onto branches to prevent ourselves from slipping to our doom (I was wearing tennis shoes and my uncle was wearing hiking boots). Eventually, we turned around before reaching the summit. It was simply too difficult to walk on the snow.

I don't know if it's common to have so much snow in early March. If you plan to do a winter hike, it might be wise to have crampons. Otherwise, it might be best to wait until spring.