Orange County High Point Trip Report

Santiago Peak

Date: October 16, 1999
Author: Roy Wallen

The assault on Santiago Peak was started late in the day after successfully visiting Mt.Pinos (Ventura County) and Sawmill Mountain (Kern County). These directions allow access by 4WD vehicle to within a few feet of the summit.

From I-15, take the Indian Truck Trail exit and head west. Stay on the main paved road as it gradually curves around to the south. The second dirt road to the right (roughly west) leads gradually up into the hills. Follow signs for Grace Retreat Center then bear left at their diveway entrance and past their facility.

There is a sign at this point of a car with a line drawn through and the words "not recommended". I can fully support this idea as the trail becomes quite rough.

Follow the dirt track up the mountain. It is mostly only wide enough for one vehicle, with occasional spaces for turn-outs. At around 8.5 miles from the paved road, another track comes in from the left. Turn right and proceed up the mountain to a wide, sandy area surrounded by towers and equipment buildings, 13 miles from the paved road. The highpoint is to the left (west) end of the parking area, up a slight incline.

Sanitago Peak is marked by a benchmark with adjacent cement-covered rock (which may be the actual high point). The drive took about an hour in each direction, to cover the 13 miles. Having a late start, we reached the summit in the dark, groped around for the benchmark, and descended in the dark. There was a light on in one of the buildings on the summit but we didn't stop in.