Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mine Peak

Hiked: 2/20/2017
Distance: 1.9 miles round trip cross country
Summit Elevation: 1850'
Prominence: 670'
Elevation Gain: 707'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 0.56
Round trip time: 1 hour
Recommended water: 0 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free on Dolomite Mine Road
Difficulty: Easy

I have been lucky with weather on most days I planned to hike. 2017 reversed that with heavy rainfall throughout January and February, cancelling many planned outings. I was nearly rained out again over a 4 day weekend from a large storm that terrorized SoCal. Luckily, the Laguna and In-Ko-Pah mountains contained the remainder of the storm to the west allowing me to stay dry throughout the day. For my first outing of the month, I planned to sweep three of the most distant San Diego Peak List summits in the southeastern part of the county. First up was Mine Peak (#87).

To reach the trailhead, take the West Dolomite Mine Trail east from Sweeny Pass Road at mile marker 53.4. After 0.7 miles, turn left and drive to the abandoned mine or as far your vehicle will go. High clearance is needed for the last half mile, and one part of the road was nearly washed out. I didn't know what dolomite was (calcium magnesium carbonate). In powdered form, it is apparently used for roads, concrete, and asphalt. The hike to Mine Peak is short, even if you park farther down the road. The attraction is the commanding view into the Carrizo Badlands. In the half-light before dawn, I headed out with minimal supplies. I followed a dirt road at first, then went cross country up to the ridge, then over to Mine Peak. I got there in time for some nice sunrise shots of the badlands and mountains to the north. On the way back, I looked around the abandoned mine area, but found no adits. It was completely sealed. Without delay, I drove back to Sweeny Pass Road and headed a mile or two south to the Red Hill trailhead, a turnout on the west side of the road.


Remains of the dolomite mine

Looking back on the way to the ridge

Approaching Mine Peak


Unusual benchmark from the "Division of Beaches & Parks", 1958

Carrizo Badlands

Looking north toward Whale Mountain

Smoke grenade left at the summit

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