Ascent of Junipero Serra Peak on 2018-03-24

Climber: Connor McEntee

Date:Saturday, March 24, 2018
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
Peak:Junipero Serra Peak
    Elevation:1200 ft / 365 m

Ascent Trip Report

Recent reports are correct that the Army is not presently manning the checkpoints at the Fort Hunter-Liggett boundaries. I followed the recommended driving directions on summitpost, which have you turn onto Del Venturi just south of the Mission. I quickly discovered that Del Venturi was gated right before it crosses the creek. Due to recent rains, this was reasonable as there was no way I was going to be able to make it through the creek anyway.

Rather than give up in defeat, I thought I'd drive around and try to find another crossing. It turns out that you can take the Mission Creek Road all the way to Milpitas Road. It does turn to dirt just past the Mission, bit it is well maintained. Now, it was unclear if I was actually allowed to be driving around there. Milpitas definitely passes a number of ranges, but all of them happened to empty this Saturday. Once I got close to the creek again, I discovered that the crossing here were also gated and posted that access is denied without explicit permission from the garrison commander. So, I figured that this approach was also futile.

On my way out, I discovered that there is a paved road going off to the right shortly after crossing the bridge on Nacimiento-Fergusson. It goes to a T intersection with Del Venturi just on the west side of the creek. Honestly, I don't understand why this isn't used in the recommended route. It's only slightly longer and much better if there is any water. I thought I would be able to make it all the way to the trailhead, but I discovered that there is a second creek crossing on Del Venturi, which was also gated. This finally ended my attempts to make it to the trailhead.

After looking at satellite photos at home, I suspect that I actually could have made it all the way by taking the dirt Milpitas Road. It looks like it stays on the right side of the creek all the way to the forest service boundary. Again, the only caveat here is that I'm not sure it's ok for civilian vehicles to be on Milpitas as it winds through the training ranges. The best bet is probably to check the road status on the base website or call range control prior to heading out.
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