Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sentenac Mountain

Hiked: 1/16/2017
Distance: 2.2 miles round trip on trail and cross country
Summit Elevation: 3068'
Elevation Gain: 900'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 0.72
Round trip time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Recommended water: 20 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free on Plum Canyon Road
Difficulty: Easy

Being able to drive to the Pinyon Mountain/Whale Mountain saddle allowed Brad and I time to add Sentenac (SDC #74) as a bonus. Sentenac is not far from Scissors Crossing, and I had done some preliminary research on it, planning to combine it with Grapevine Mountain. I remembered the trailhead being down a dirt road, but couldn't remember the name of it. I downloaded a track from peakbagger on my phone and used that to locate Plum Canyon Road, heading south from highway 78. The road was smooth, no need for 4WD or high clearance. It splits after a mile. We took the right fork to the end of the road to reach the trailhead.

A sandy trail begins up Plum Canyon, skirting the wall at one point, then dropping back down. In about a half mile, we followed a side canyon on the right (west). Interesting rock formations and a few dry waterfalls created a blissful small canyon. We continued up the side canyon until we were near Sentenac, then started up the steep slope toward the summit. The highest rock formation visible from the canyon turned out to be a false summit, but from those rocks we could see the true summit. I was surprised how good the views were in all directions. Grapevine Mountain swelled up across highway 78. Granite and Whale were both still prominent. The register showed some familiar names and there were hikers up the day before. We didn't find any marks, but we didn't make a serious search effort either. We took a slightly more direct line back to the canyon where the sun had warmed it into a really pleasant place.

Entrance to Plum Canyon Road


Into the side canyon

Ocotillo starting to bloom

Beautiful dry waterfall

Rocky outcrop

Approaching the summit

Summit and register, Granite Mountain on the right

Grapevine Mountain across the highway

Looking back at Whale


  1. Nice Ocotillo. I'm liking the looks of the canyon portion of this adventure.

    1. Madison,

      We have to find the right desert trip and add it to the list.