Ascent of Cuyama Peak on 1996-04-25

Climber: Richard Carey

Date:Thursday, April 25, 1996
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cuyama Peak
    Elevation:5880 ft / 1792 m

Ascent Trip Report

The name of the peak and the river to the north are of Chumash Indian origin and mean "clams". The name Cuyama was given to two land grants in 1843 and 1846. (Gudde, p. 82) The benchmark is on the ridge about 100 ft. east of the lookout. Data from the USC&GS CDROM indicates that the lookout tower was there in 1941 when the benchmark was placed.

The Cuyama Peak Lookout is in the Los Padres National Forest. Access is from the Santa Barbara Canyon Road which leads to northern trailheads of the Dick Smith and San Rafael Wilderness areas. The road to the summit may be closed after wet weather. For information contact the Mt. Pinos Ranger District office in Frazier Park, CA. 93225. Tele.: (805) 245-3731

On Interstate 5 north of Grapevine exit onto highway 166 and go west for 22.9 miles to the town of Maricopa. At a junction in the town continue straight on 166 and 33 for 13.7 miles to a junction where route 33 turns south toward Ojai. Turn left (S) here and drive for 2.7 miles then turn right on Foothill Road. Go west on this road which crosses the Cuyama River after about 1.5 miles. This is usually dry and sandy, but could be flooded after heavy rains. At 2.1 miles turn left onto Santa Barbara Canyon Road and reset your odometer. This fair paved road passes through several ranches and at 3.0 miles turn right through a cattle guard and begin Forest Road 9N11. After 7.5 miles turn right at a turnoff to a ranch and continue on the road which turns into a good graded dirt surface. After 10.7 miles there is a junction with Dry Canyon Road marked by a sign on your left. Turn left here onto this road which is route 8N19. (Shown as 8N07 on older maps.) In a few hundred feet there is a seasonal gate, which if open, allows you to drive all the way to the summit. The road is steep in some sections with tight switchbacks and possible fallen rocks to look out for. A high-clearance vehicle is advised. The old lookout tower at the top is reached after driving 7.9 miles. The benchmark is about 100 ft. east of the tower on the ridge line. 4/96 RLC
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