Ascent of Lightning Ridge High Point on 2020-05-27

Climber: Jeffrey Swain

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, May 27, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Lightning Ridge High Point
    Elevation:5800 ft / 1767 m

Ascent Trip Report

This should be called Lightning Ridge, as that's how it is referenced in other sources. Also, nothing on the map identifies it. It is simply Chula Vista Reservoir. More about that later.

Trailhead is at Junction 5637 near the Horse Heaven Campground. I chose to hike up the road to the Laguna/El Prado Campground and wind my way from there. Laguna/El Prado was closed and some construction workers told me I was in the wrong place. I found an ancient trail that took me to the top of the ridge. At the top are some interesting features (1) a kind of brick cistern-looking structure, (2) a water tank or, perhaps, reservoir with a distinct turtle-back design (3) a solar panel, (4) another rockpile that might have marked the true peak, and (5) some kind of rustic shelter that looks like a dug-out pit, surrounded with rocks, and a primitive covering of branches.

Trail down is gravel road that leads directly back to Junction 5637. From there, I followed a well-used trail up to Foster Point. Foster point has a kind of monument on top with a direction finder pointing to the principal peaks in the area. View from Foster Point is spectacular as you can see everything from the desert floor to Cuyamaca Peak. The Pacific Crest Trail passes by and there is a directional sign to Foster Point, which is off the main trail. Pay attention when going down because it is easy to miss the turnoff back to 5637.

Technically, this is one hike with two peaks, but both hikes begin and end at Horse Heaven. Separate entries are made for both peaks.

Take an extra minute to visit the lookout which is just down the road. You will have a spectacular view of the desert floor and Garnet Peak.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
This turtleback structure is called the Chula Vista Reservoir. The brown dot is farther down the ridge near the stone cistern structure (2020-05-27). Photo by Jeffrey Swain.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:163 ft / 49 m
    Total Elevation Loss:163 ft / 49 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:163 ft / 49 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Route:Camp roads and cross country.
    Start Trailhead:Horse heaven campground  5637 ft / 1718 m
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:163 ft / 49 m
    Distance:0.3 mi / 0.5 km
    Route:Gravel Road
    End Trailhead:Horse Heaven Campground  5637 ft / 1718 m
    Time:30 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Lightning Ridge and Foster Point

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Lightning Ridge High Point2020-05-27163 ft / 50 m
Total Trip Gain: 163 ft / 50 m    Total Trip Loss: 163 ft / 50 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jeffrey Swain
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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