Ascent of Volcan Mountain on 2021-02-17

Climber: Jeffrey Swain

Others in Party:Various other hiking parties
Date:Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Volcan Mountain
    Elevation:5353 ft / 1631 m

Ascent Trip Report

Trailhead is off Farmer Road in the community of Wynola, near Julian, California.

Volcan Benchmark sits at the top of Volcan Mountain, which was a candidate to house the Hale Telescope which eventually went to Palomar Mountain. It is within the boundaries of the Volcan Mountain Preserve, operated by the San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation. Indeed, I found two benchmarks. One is under a tree in the summit block. The other is atop a small pole on the southeast rim of the circular driveway. Volcan Mountain/Volcan Benchmark are part of the range called Volcan Mountains (plural). The High Point of the Volcan Mountains is called Pechacho and is within the boundaries of the Santa Ysabel Indian Reservation.

Volcan Mountain/Volcan Benchmark is No. 12 of the San Diego County Parks Challenge. It does not appear on the 100 Peaks List for the San Diego Sierra Club, but does appear as 31J, De-listed on the Los Angeles 100 Peaks Roster. The benchmark is indicated as DX4993 on San Diego Peaks and Benchmarks.

The Volcan Mountain trail is actually a service road for the beacons and towers at the top. It is well maintained and well marked. There are a couple of steep spots, but there is no scrambling or bushwhacking involved. It was a bright, clear day to views extended to San Jacinto in the north and the Salton Sea in the east. Points of interest include an observation point with binoculars near the summit; a couple of memorial benches (one designed by local artist James T. Hubbel, who also designed the gateway to the mountain); a couple of metate stones; and the ruins of a cabin used by astronomers researching the placement of the Hale Telescope. Minor scrambling and bushwhacking are required to locate the Volcan Benchmark under the venerable oak tree on the summit block.

This was my second attempt in a couple of days to climb Volcan Mountain. The first attempt was stymied by rain, hail, and strong winds. Indeed, I came prepared for winter conditions and was glad I was prepared.

Trip down was uneventful. Other parties came in varying degrees of preparation.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1185 ft / 361 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.6 mi / 9.1 km
    Route:Volcan Mountain Trail
    Trailhead:Farmer Road  4168 ft / 1270 m
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Clear
Crisp and clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 51 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 51 Minutes
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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