Tuesday, February 18, 2014

OC Peaklet 5-pack

Hiked: 2/18/2014
Distance: 8.4 miles round trip on trail and cross country
Summit Elevation: 808', 867', 817', 1063', 1034'
Elevation Gain: 1469'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.17
Round trip time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Recommended water: 64 oz.
Parking/Fees: $3 OC Parks
Difficulty: Moderate (combined)

A string of peaklets in the Laguna Coast "Wilderness" rise along the San Joaquin Hills Tollway (Hwy 73). They offer a surprising amount of fun for an urbanesque setting, especially Peak 808, which is not easy to find and has a 45 degree dirt scramble if approached from the south. I started at the Laguna Wilderness parking area on Laguna Canyon Road just south of El Toro on the right. I followed the Laurel Canyon trail, turned right at the Stagecoach South trail, and went off trail to the left up a big rock slab that leads to a use trail to Peak 808. Along the way, there are a couple of false summits. The final dirt section can be done standing up, but is easier using your hands. The trail is clearly visible as an S-shape from the 73 Tollway heading north. There is no benchmark or register on Peak 808. From there, it is a 10 minute trip down to a saddle, then up to Peak 867. Chaparral hides the benchmark on Peak 867. Follow a faint use trail about 30' around it toward the Tollway to find a metal pole and damaged OC Survey Mark. No register found.

Junction of Laurel Canyon and Stagecoach trails

Rock slab to Peak 808 trail

Final approach to Peak 808

Damaged OC benchmark on Peak 867

Looking north from Peak 867

I continued north over Peak 867 across a wash, then under the 73 Tollway to pick up the uninspiring Peak 817 off the Serrano Ridge trail. There is a weak use trail up 817, but it is overgrown and some light bushwhacking is required to reach the high point. For your effort, you'll find nothing there.

Heading under the 73 to Peak 817

Thrashing up to Peak 817

Hawk hunting along Serrano Ridge

Next, I went back under the 73 to hit two peaks over 1000' behind Crystal Cove State Park. The highest and northern most of the two, Peak 1063, sits directly above the 73 Toll Gates a short distance off Bommer Ridge. I approached on an unnamed trail. Peak 1063 was surrounded by a fence and had some signs about "closed" and "violators something" but I was too busy getting through the fence to read them. After that, I returned to Bommer Ridge and picked up a use trail on the left up to Peak 1034. No benchmarks or registers found on either of the 1000'+ peaklets. I returned on Bommer Ridge, then Willow Canyon trail back to the parking area, completing a pleasant 8.4 mile loop.

Approaching Peak 1063

The 73 Tollway gates from Peak 1063, Saddleback in the distance

Peak 1034 ahead

Looking across Laurel Canyon at Peak 867 and Peak 808 From Peak 1034

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