Santa Cruz County High Point Trip Report

Mt McPherson

Date: November, 1999
Author: Edward Earl

Mount McPherson lies on a Christmas tree farm which is closed to the public except for the three weekends after Thanksgiving during the Christmas tree shopping season. This was the case on the day I was there, so I could pay it guilt-free a visit. Gary Suttle suggests parking on the shoulder of Skyline Drive where the side road to the tree farm and summit branches off. Today, however, frequent No Parking signs render that difficult.

I drove up the road to the tree shopping area, parked, and asked the staff where the summit of Mount McPherson was. A man told me pull around behind some trees to a freshly graded, empty parking area. His tone was slightly gruff, and he muttered something about "interfering with business", but he was basically agreeable. I did as he said, and located the four-foot-high metal pipe mentioned by Gary Suttle.

The highpoint is now about 10-15 yards north of the pipe. 12 yards east of the pipe, which is where Suttle's book says the high point is, has been graded down to form the parking area where I was now parked.

Although I had located the high point, I still had to Earlize [ascend with at least 1000 feet of elevation gain] it to claim credit, and I didn't want to hang around too long, so I drove back to the main highway and looked for a decent place to start a climb. I got a lucky break and found a gravel pullout at mile post 10.47 where a sign read, "No parking sunset to 6 AM." (All other No Parking signs in the area were effective at all times.) I parked, walked up to the summit of McPherson, then back down past my car to the turnoff to Deer Ridge, another tree farm. I walked 400' down to the tree farm itself where the road turns to dirt, continues down a ridge and then switches back into a creek bed, until my altimeter showed 1090' loss from the summit.