To celebrate the fin de julio, wife and I took a hike out to the somewhat unusual and well under-hiked monster known as Mt. Pinos. It’s Peen-yos, get your mind out of the gutter weirdo. Mt. Pinos is a 15 minute drive or so west of Frazier Park in the 5 corridor, on the border of Ventura and Kern counties, and is the highest point in Ventura County at 8,847 feet in elevation. It’s known more for its cross country skiing than hiking, but, as you’ll hopefully see below, it’s a fun hike too.
We set out from the gigantic parking lot in front of the Nordic Lodge around 4pm or so. One of the beautiful things about this hike, at least if you like easier hikes, is that the trailhead is already at over 8,000′ in elevation. Cool. (this is where my elevation/altitude training audience should take notes on a good first hike in training for the Sierras, Yosemite, etc…) Laura and I hike at different speeds (I’m a bit faster) so, in an effort to balance things out, I packed 50 lbs of water into my backpack. Hopefully that will enhance my training some.
We parked adjacent to the dirt road and followed it past the closed gate. The road was well graded, easy enough, but still steadily uphill. Its an easy trail (road) and we just followed it up and up and up. We passed by a small meadow and a rock that looked like a weird hand or something and finally came to a very large meadow. This is the beginning of the very large and flat summit, about a mile and a half or so in. The road split in two different directions. First we followed it right which led to the summit as marked by a USGS marker…adjacent some sort of communication station and solar panels. We then followed the road back to the fork and took the left brand, which led to a cool overlook, complete with benches and drawings and cool vegetation (snow plants!) and another trailhead. We’ll have to try that trail another day. Overall, this hike was an easy 3.5-4 miler with little elevation gain and some good beginner elevation training. The hardest part about it is getting there, as it isn’t really near LA, Santa Barbara, or any other large metro area. That aside, we give this one two thumbs up.
distance: 3.78 miles
elevation gain: 788′ (start at 8300′)
calories burned (est) – 1500 (remember, more calories will burn at higher elevations)
calories consumed – 200 or so (honey stinger waffle and pack of guchomps)
water consumed – .5L
weather – 73 and sunny, slight breeze
getting there: take the 5 to frazier park/frazier park mountain road. take that road west and veer right when it becomes Cuddy Valley Rd. It later splits again and this time you want to follow it left up Mt. Pinos Road. The road ends at the trailhead. Road is entirely paved.