Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Valencia Peak

Hiked: 4/2/2017
Distance: 4.3 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 1347'
Prominence: 527'
Elevation Gain: 1300'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.04
Round trip time: 2 hours
Recommended water: 36 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free on Pecho Valley Road
Difficulty: Easy

The last summit of the trip was Valencia Peak, a coastal mountain south of Morro Bay. There was ample parking at the trailhead on Pecho Valley Road. The marine layer had only partially burned off and Valencia was hidden somewhere in the clouds. Adam and I started up the trail and got a better look at the small bay below. There were several parties on the trail, most of them on their way down. We continued up into the clouds, losing sight of everything but the next section of trail. Fortunately, there were plenty of wildflowers to add some color to the otherwise off-white blanket of fog. An hour later, we were standing on top of Valencia. A loose cement fragment held the remains of reference mark #3 pointing in a random direction. We also went zero for three on registers for the day. Even though we couldn't see anything, we could hear the roar of the ocean below. It is probably a vision on a clear day. None of that mattered since Valencia was my Lower Peaks List finish (with a caveat). Little Pine Mountain Benchmark was still on my to do list, but was currently suspended due to the Rey Fire closure. Santa Paula Peak was also suspended and looks like it may not be added back. Until something changed, the LPC list was done. I would have time to wax philosophically about the chase later. At the moment, Adam and I were both hungry so we headed back to look for food. We drove to a Chipotle in downtown SLO and I found a parking spot, ignoring the parking meter next to it since it was Sunday. After finishing a burrito, I returned to find a $33 parking ticket on my windshield. Like the clouds, it did't dent my satisfaction of completing three peaks on the day and the list.



Stratified trail

Valencia is somewhere up in the clouds

Rocks just below the summit

Reference mark 3, could not find the triangulation mark


Looking east from the summit


Indian paintbrush


  1. I've done this hike more than any other, I think. I proposed to my wife at the top - we sat on that reference marker when I asked her. We now spend 2 weeks up there every summer.

    I've been there in all kinds of conditions - the day i proposed to her was in early Feb, after a storm, and the visibility was forever. One of my favorite places on earth.

    I'm glad you got to hike it.

    Last summer I combined Valencia with Oats Peak, then down to Coon Creek and through Rattlesnake Flats. On the short list of my favorite hikes ever. There will be a TON of poison oak this year - this summer when we're up there I'm going to have to find another hike. Maybe I'll combine Valencia with Oats and Hazard - as long as there's no poison oak.

    Good write up, Teke!

    Mike Martin, Riverside, CA

    1. Mike,

      That's a great story. A [successful] proposal is bound to reinforce good memories. I'd like to make it back when it's clear some day.