Ascent of Saddle Mountain on 2013-03-23

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, March 23, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Saddle Mountain
    Elevation:3292 ft / 1003 m

Ascent Trip Report

This peak is on the California Coastal Peaks list that I found through Bob Burd's website. So I thought it would make a nice bonus peak in conjunction with hearby King Peak. I had enough daylight left after mtn biking to Rainbow Ridge HP and hiking up Grasshopper Mtn to try it the same day. From Rainbow Ridge, I drove through Honeydew and over to a connecting road with King Peak Road. Quite a bit of steep dirt roads but it worked. A high clearance vehicle is mandatory to drive this route from Honeydew.

Driving towards the King Peak trailhead, theres a signed turnoff about 2 miles passed the King Peak Rd/Horse Mtn road junction. I turned left onto this fair, but narrow, dirt road for about 1.4 miles to the signed trailhead and parking lot for the Saddle Mtn trail.

I followed the trail for 0.8 miles to a trail junction at the base of Saddle Mtn. The left branch goes around the southeast side of the peak, and the right branch continues around the north side of the peak. I was hoping to find some sort of use trail to the summit because of heavy brush. I could find no trail leading to the summit from the left branch, so I walked the main right branch several hundred feet as it gradually descended.

On the NW side of the peak, the brush eased up considerably and I hiked up the steep slope to the summit area. The summit was rather flat and there was quite a bit of brush on the summit ridge so it was hard to tell exactly wherer the true highpoint was. I pushed my way through brush over a few candidates for the HP, then found an old overgrown fire road near the summit ridge. I followed it SW a short way to a man-made clearing where I had a great view of the ocean. This made the short hike worth the visit.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:512 ft / 155 m
    Extra Gain:60 ft / 18 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    Route:Saddle Mtn trail and NW face
    Trailhead:Saddle Mtn trailhead  2900 ft / 883 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack

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