Thursday, January 1, 2015

Flores Peak

Hiked: 1/1/2015
Distance: 1.4 miles round trip on trail and cross country
Summit Elevation: 1875'
Prominence: 320'
Elevation Gain: 550'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 0.44
Round trip time: 45 minutes
Recommended water: 16 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary
Difficulty: Easy

Flores Peak, named after outlaw Juan Flores, overlooks the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in the Santa Ana Mountain foothills. There is free, but limited, parking at the sanctuary and it is a popular place for mountain bikers because it is also the start of the Harding Truck Trail. To get there, turn on Modjeska Canyon Road from Santiago Canyon Road and follow it around a small jog to the end. If the parking lot is full, there are a few places along the side of Modjeska Canyon Road where you can park.

Flores is a dial-your-own-difficulty hike. There are multiple routes up. The easiest is to take the dirt road on the north side of Modjeska Canyon Road about 0.25 miles before the parking area, then follow the use trail up the southeast ridge, class 1 all the way. The next easiest is the south ridge, which takes some class 2 dirt scrambling to reach. Once on the south ridge, it is class 1 the rest of the way. On the southwest side, you can find class 3/4 routes from Harding Truck Trail, and possibly other routes. The rock didn't look very stable from a distance. I took the south ridge up and the southeast ridge down. There is a small American flag at the summit, but I found no register or benchmark. I followed a use trail down the west side a bit trying to get a better look at the cliffy rocks, but brush blocked my view as far as I went. There were some very nice views of the interior of the Santa Anas with a nice snow dusting from a storm two days earlier. The snow line dropped as low as 2000', but it was melting fast.

I hopped the concrete barrier here, then scrambled left to gain the south ridge

Initial sketchy dirt scramble above the road

The cliffy southeast face of Flores Peak

Summit flag

Rare Santa Ana snow dusting, looking up Harding Canyon toward Modjeska

Coming down the southeast ridge

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