Sacramento County Highpoint Trip Report

Carpenter Hill (828 ft)

Date: December 19, 2004
Author: Peter Maurer

A lot has changed since I hiked to this highpoint five or six years ago. The suburban sprawl of Folsom has encroached almost to the summit, which makes for easy automobile access, if a quick assault is your goal. The joy of a spring stroll across wildflower strewn hillsides is long gone, however. But watching the development occur over the past few years and seeing a new road open, a last minute shopping trip to Folsom with my two youngest gave me a good excuse to hit this one again and add a peak to their lists.

With the extension of Iron Point Road over the crest and new subdivision activity occurring on the east side of the ridge, the access is even more direct than reported by Messrs. Greene and Millsap. Simply take the East Bidwell Street/Scott Road exit north off of Highway 50. At the 1st stoplight, turn right (east) onto Iron Point Road. Take that to the top of the hill, just past the road cut below the highpoint. There are bike lanes on both sides of the road and, although not posted, parking is probably prohibited on Iron Point Road itself. Just past the crest are entry roads into new subdivisions, park on either of these. Walk up along the edge of the cut on the north side of the road, past the water tank and toward the enclosures of three tall communication towers. A gravel service road to the Water tank provides a flat and sticker-free walkway once one has reached the tank. The highpoint is just beyond the furthest, westernmost and smallest of the three towers, with a benchmark in a small rock outcrop.

The view from the HP is really quite expansive, when the air is clear. The winter valley fog had not quite burned off yet and the sky was very hazy from agricultural burning in the Sacramento Valley. Summer smog usually lessens visibility. However, on clear days, the view across the valley encompasses Mt. Diablo and the cost ranges to the west, including Snow Mountain, Mt. St. Helena and other coastal county highpoints, the Sutter Buttes to the north, the Crystal Range of the Sierra crest to the west, and a long view down the San Joaquin Valley to the south.