Yuba County High Point Trip Report

Sugar Pine Mountain

Date: June 17, 2003
Author: Ken Jones

I used Gary Suttle's book and write-ups by Andy Martin, John Sarna, Edward Earl, Dave Covill, and "Old Clymr". I felt that there was no single description that told me everything I needed to find this summit (though together, they kept me on the right track - thank you, gentlemen), so I will take a shot at one.

First, find the turnoff. This is from Yuba county road E21, locally signed as La Porte Road. It is about 2.5 miles northeast of "downtown" Strawberry Valley, and exactly 1.5 miles northeast of the Forest Service's Strawberry Valley Fire Station. The road you want goes right, is paved, and has a (shot-up) sign reading "Scales". It is directly across E21 from a sign indicating the way to Strawberry Campground. Zero your odometer.

Start by following the paved Scales road. It has mileage markers every half mile, but the zero point did not seem to be at the junction with E21, so they won't match the mileage numbers I provide. Also, the markers become erratic or obscure as you continue on the drive; surprisingly, they seemed to go up the gravel road at the end - I don't know if they also continued on the paved road because I didn't look. Follow the paved road as it rolls for about a mile, then drops steadily into a canyon. At 3.9 miles from the start, it crosses Slate Creek on a bridge and heads up the other side. At the height of land (odometer reading 5.2) it reaches mile marker 5.5 and a junction with road 20N30. Stay on the pavement another 0.7 mile, passing mile marker 6, and at odometer reading 5.9 you will reach a gravel road signed 21N11. Turn left. (Suttle mentions white gravel - it appeared to me that all the gravel roads in the area use white gravel, so that's not a key to identifying the road. But as of my climb date there were new-appearing USFS road number signs on almost every road in the area - good luck with the vandals.)

Follow the gravel road 21N11 for 3.2 miles (odometer 9.1) to a 5-way intersection (the sharp left is obscure). Continue straight through this intersection, and in another 0.4 mile (odometer 9.5) reach spur road 21N68Y. Turn right onto this road. I was able to nurse a rental Chevy Cavalier to its end 0.4 mile farther (9.9 miles from Yuba county road E21), though another water flow or two is likely to make a shallow washout 0.1 mile up the spur impassable without high clearance. Park at the end of the road (gravel ends, berm just ahead), or walk to this point.

The hike: Follow the continuation of the old logging road past the end of the gravel for about 180 to 200 yards. The road is still climbing gently at this point. There is a somewhat obscure old logging track heading uphill to the left here. Turn left up it and follow it for about 0.2 mile to where it levels out. I found the pine cone cairn Suttle describes just left of the track, but no register in it. On the other side of the track, at the hill's highest point, there is a register in a glass jar inside an old chunk of concrete. Given the mapped county line, I think the pine cone cairn is in just about the right spot for the actual HP. The register is clearly in Sierra county.