home Home Home

     
 

Mt. Pinos in Pictures

Mt. Pinos

Mt. Pinos is located in the Los Padres National Forest and is the tallest mountain within the San Emigdio Mountain range and part of the larger Transverse Ranges, a portion of the California Coast Ranges. Sometimes it is mistakenly grouped with the Tehachapi Mountains. It is the highest point in Ventura County at 8,831 feet.

Pine Mountain Club is located north of Mt. Pinos. Lake of the Woods and Frazier Park are about 10 miles to the east. Lockwood Valley and Cuddy Valley are located at the base of Mt. Pinos.

The view from the summit of Mt. Pinos encompasses the southern Central Valley, the southernmost Sierra Nevada, much of northern Ventura county, much of the Santa Barbara County Mountains, and the Caliente Range and Carrizo Plain. Bakersfield and the surrounding towns are visible on a clear evening to the north and northeast. The summit of the mountain itself is relatively flat and open, with several subsidiary summits covered in pines and separated by brushy areas.

Mt. Pinos – The Center of the Chumash World

Mt. Pinos, "Iwihinmu" in the Chumash language, was considered by the Chumash Indians to be the center of the world ("Liyikshup"), the point where everything was in balance. It was not only the highest summit within the region occupied by that Native American group, but was near the center of their historic home. Chumash Wilderness encompasses 38,150 acres and was established in 1992 by the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act.

The Chumash Wilderness is situated in the Mt. Pinos Ranger District. It includes Mt. Pinos which was an integral part of Chumash life and is still extremely important to the local Chumash residents. The vegetation is mainly pine forests in the northern portion and a combination of badlands and chaparral in the south. Hiking and camping are among the many recreational opportunities. Snow in the winter provides opportunities for winter recreation.

For more information on the Chumash Indians, vistit the following section.

Click Here

Hiking on Mt. Pinos

The summit of Mt. Pinos can be reached by an easy 1.4 mile hike along a dirt road from a parking area (Chula Vista) at the end of Los Padres National Forest Road S349S also known as Mt. Pinos Road. This trail continues into the Chumash Indian Wilderness on the west facing Mt. Pinos slope. The trail stops at Mount Abel (Cerro Noroeste), about 6 miles. Most of the trail is above 8,000 feet and offers hikers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

See “Driving Directions to Mt. Pinos” and “Mt. Pinos Maps & Information” sections below.

Star Gazing on Mt. Pinos Summit

Mount Pinos is considered to be one of the best star gazing locations in California due to its dark skies, extremely low light pollution, and frequent clear skies. It is a favorite place for amateur astronomers. The usual viewing area is in the large parking area (Chula Vista) surrounded by tall pines located about 1.4 miles east of the actual Mt. Pinos peak.

Tips for New Mt. Pinos Star Gazers

  1. Check the sunset time for the day you plan to visit and allow enough time to arrive before nightfall. If you want a nice viewing location, arrive between 2:00pm or 3:00pm.

  2. Temperatures drop in the early evening even in summer, so take plenty of warm clothing and blankets if you plan on spending any length of time outside your vehicle.

  3. Pack snacks and beverages or purchase them in Frazier Park or Lake of the Woods on the way to the summit. Portable restrooms are located in the parking area. An Adventure Pass is required. See “Adventure Pass” section below.

  4. Back your car into its parking space. Reverse backup lights are extremely bright when the eyes of your fellow star gazers are adapted to the dark. Turn the courtesy light in your car to the OFF position.

  5. Use Red-Filtered flashlights outside. Keeping the ground light in the parking area to a minimum is the goal.

  6. When leaving the parking lot, many people use only their parking lights. If they drive a GM car with daytime headlights, they will pull their emergency brake up one click to shut them off until they are out of the parking lot. The decision to use or not use your headlights in the parking area is up to you – consider your safety and the safety of others first.

  7. Arriving early has its rewards. You’ll find a better parking spot for star gazing, meet fellow amateur astronomers, and learn about astronomy equipment. You can also hike up to the peak of Mount Pinos. It's about 1.4 miles. On a clear day, you can see the entire San Joaquin Valley and the surrounding mountain ranges.

  8. See “Driving Directions to Mt. Pinos” and “Mt. Pinos Maps & Information” sections below.

Winter Sports on Mt. Pinos

The consistent snow conditions at Mt. Pinos allow for many types of winter recreation. This includes cross country skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and snow camping.

The network of ski trails and backcountry snowboarding bowls on Mt. Pinos is documented a map distributed (for a suggested donation) by the Mt. Pinos Nordic Ski Patrol. The Nordic Base facility is located at the top of Mt. Pinos Road at the Chula Vista parking lot. The ski trails are part of a dispersed recreation area administered in partnership by the United States Forest Service, Los Padres National Forest, local Frazier Park-area businesses and the Mt. Pinos Nordic Ski Patrol.

From the Chula Vista parking lot, the trail network spreads uphill, towards Condor Point, and downhill, reaching as far down as McGill Campground. Skiing and snow boarding are also available in backcountry bowls on the north face of the peak and ridges that drop all the way down the mountain to about the 6,000 ft. elevation level. Popular destinations include Condor Point, 1st and 2nd Meadows, and Inspiration Point. The Overlook trail accesses the North Ridge area, which formerly hosted an alpine ski area during the 1960’s. The lifts were tow ropes situated on the three fingers of the drainage just north of Overlook trail.

More ambitious back country skiing can include trips to nearby Sheep Camp on Sawmill Mountain, Mount Abel (Cerro Noroeste), and if snow conditions allow, a descent all the way down to Pine Mountain Club.

During and immediately after heavy snow storms, it may not be possible to immediately drive to the top of Mt. Pinos due to delayed snow plow availability. In these cases it is common for the Kern County Roads Department to close a snow gate lower on the mountain. It is still possible to ski from the vicinity of the snow gate and enjoy the lower slopes of Mount Pinos. Snow at lower elevations also facilitates cross country skiing to Iris Point, which provides incredible views of Lockwood Valley. See “Mt. Pinos Weather” section below to check current weather and road conditions.

Winter Safety Information and Snow Play Tips – Provided by the Los Padres National Forest Service

  1. Carry snow chains – chains are required for this area of the Los Padres National Forest during the winter season. Obtain current road and snow conditions before your trip. For current weather conditions, visit The Weather Channel website and call Caltrans for current road conditions.

The Weather Channel

Click Here

Caltrans – Current Road Conditions

(800) 427-7623

  1. Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member. Don’t travel alone. Take a good map.

  2. Wear layered clothing, gloves, a warm hat and footwear suited to wet and rugged terrain.

  3. Carry blankets, dry clothing, extra food and water, a flashlight, first aid kit, matches and a shovel in the trunk of your car.

  4. Make sure your tire chains fit properly and that you know how to install them.

  5. Make sure your wiper blades work. Fill up the gas tank. Gas is available in Lebec and after entering the national forest in Frazier Park and Lake of the Woods.

  6. Watch for heavy, slow-moving traffic. Don’t pass cars except in passing lanes.

  7. Always park off of the traveled portion of the road where you are not blocking traffic or other roadways.

  8. Watch for ice on the road, particularly in late afternoon shadows. Beware of “black ice” - pavement that looks clear but is glazed over with ice.

  9. Be careful when hiking or walking in snow and icy areas. Watch your footing.

  10. When sledding or tubing, be sure you have a safe place to stop with plenty of distance between you and trees, parked cars and other people.

  11. If you become lost or injured, stay calm and dry, and shelter yourself from the elements if you can. Do not wander from your planned route. Use your cell phone to call 911, but don’t rely on your cell phone to summon help. Cell phones don’t work in many areas of the forest.

Snow Play Tips

There is a lot of private land inside Los Padres National Forest in the Mt. Pinos Ranger District near the communities of Lebec, Frazier Park, Lake-of-the-Woods, Piñon Pines, and Pine Mountain Club. Respect private property. Please do not park your vehicle or play on private property.

Use the trash receptacles provided. Be sure to display your National Forest Adventure Pass, Golden Eagle Pass, Golden Age Pass, or Golden Access Pass on your vehicle if you are parked within the national forest while recreating. This applies for all types of recreating, both summer and winter.

Mt. Pinos Ski Patrol

The Southern California Nordic Ski Patrol is a volunteer organization working in partnership with the United States Forest Service. They are located at Mt. Pinos in the Los Padres Forest, where they have served since 1977. Their patrol was named the National Outstanding Nordic Ski Patrol by the National Ski Patrol System for 1993, 1996, 1999 and again in 2006.

They presently have 36 active members patrolling on most weekends from mid November thru April. Their patrollers include professionals, tradesmen, techies, students, retirees and all kinds of other people. Visit their website for more information.

Mt. Pinos Ski Patrol Website

Click Here

Mt. Pinos Ski Patrol Blog

Click Here

Camping on Mt. Pinos – Camp in the Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Mt. Pinos Campground

Mt. Pinos campground is open in the spring, summer and a portion of the fall months with closure during the winter season -- approximately from mid-November through mid-April. The campground is shaded by Jeffery Pine and located 16 miles west of Frazier Park. There are 19 camp sites with facilities that include vault restrooms, fire rings, tables, and the campground can accept RV’s up to 26 feet.

Mt. Pinos campground is a campfire Use Site. Adventure Passes are not required, but are required when parked outside the campground. The Mt. Pinos campground is managed by the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company. Campground fees are $12.00 per family. Reservations should be made through National Recreation 4 days in advance.

U.S. Reservation Service

For reservations, contact the U.S. Reservation Service at (877) 444-6777 or visit the Recreation.gov website.

Click Here

Rocky Mountain Recreation Company

For additional Mt. Pinos Campground information, contact the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company at (805) 967-8766 or visit their website.

Click Here

McGill Campground

McGill campground is open in the spring, summer and a portion of the fall months with closure during the winter season – approximately from mid-November through mid-April. The campground is under open sky in a mixed conifer forest and located 13 miles west of Frazier Park. There are 78 camp sites and facilities that include vault restrooms, fire rings, tables, two group campground sites; one accommodating up to 80 people and one accommodating up to 60 people. Some sites in the campground can accept RV’s up to 30 feet. No water is available at this time.

McGill is a campfire Use Site. Adventure Passes are not required, but are required when parked outside campground. The McGill campground is managed by the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company. Campground fees are $12.00 per family and group campground fees are $75.00 and require a reservation. Reservations should be made through National Recreation 4 days in advance.

U.S. Reservation Service

For reservations, contact the U.S. Reservation Service at (877) 444-6777 or visit the Recreation.gov website.

Click Here.

Rocky Mountain Recreation Company

For additional Mt. Pinos Campground information, contact the Rocky Mountain Recreation Company at (805) 967-8766 or visit their website.

Click Here

Mt. Pinos Weather

In the winter months, the Mt. Pinos summit can experience harsh weather in contrast to the milder winter weather experienced in most of Southern California.

Most of the precipitation falls as winter snow, and the area experiences 3-7 feet of snow fall each year, with snowfields lasting untill early June on the north facing slopes. In heavy snowfall years, snow can last till late July.

Temperatures reach freezing only in the coldest months with lows dropping into the teens at night.

The summer months are usually mild with high temperatures rarely reaching above 75. The area experiences occasional thunderstorms, some delivering intense and localized downpours.

Always check weather conditions before traveling to the area. Be prepared with snow chains during the late fall and winter months. For current weather conditions, visit The Weather Channel website and the Caltrans website for road conditions.

The Weather Channel – Enter ZIP code 93225

Click Here

Caltrans - Road Conditions

Call Caltrans for current road conditions at (800) 427-7623 or visit their website.

Click Here for conditions.

Kern Country Roads Department

Call Kern County Roads Department for current Mt. Pinos Road conditions at (661) 862-8850.

Adventure Pass Information

You can obtain a pass at the Mt. Pinos Ranger station in Frazier Park on Lockwood Valley Road or at any BIG 5 Sporting Goods store. The cost is $5.00 for a day pass and $30.00 for a year pass. You can also purchase an Adventure Pass at these locations on your way to the summit.

Don's Liquor Mart

616 Monterey Trail, Frazier Park
Daily & Annual Passes
661-245-1712

Midway Market

600 E. Border St., Frazier Park
Daily & Annual Passes
661-245-1790

Forest Service - Mt. Pinos Ranger District

34580 Lockwood Valley Rd., Frazier Park
Daily, Annual & Secondary Passes
661-245-3731

For More information on Adventure Passes, visit the following websites.

Adventure Pass Information

Click Here

Los Padres Forest Service Information

Click Here

Driving Directions to Mt. Pinos

From Los Angeles, take Interstate I-5 north and exit Frazier Mountain Park Road -- about 35 miles past the Castaic Junction (Magic Mountain).

Turn left from the Frazier Park off ramp and drive west. You will reach a 4-way stop in the center of Frazier Park. Continue west on Frazier Mountain Park Road.

You will pass Lockwood Valley Road on your left after 3 miles and Frazier Mountain Park Road will veer right and become Cuddy Valley Road.

You will eventually come to a "Y" intersection where Mil Potrero Highway meets Cuddy Valley Road with a sign indicating directions to Pine Mountain Club and Mt. Pinos. Stay on Cuddy Valley Road. Cuddy Valley Road will become Mt. Pinos Road at this “Y” intersection.

Follow Mt. Pinos road about 9 miles. You’ll pass through two yellow snow gates. One gate is at about 2 miles in and the other snow gate is about 6 miles in.

You’ll eventually reach a road sign that says, "Pavement Ends." The Mt. Pinos parking area (Chula Vista) is just beyond this sign.

Mt. Pinos Maps & Information

For maps and additional information on campgrounds, hiking and ATV trails in the Mt. Pinos Ranger district of the Los Padres National Forest, click on one of the following website links.

Los Padres National Forest Campground Maps - Local

Click Here

Los Padres National Forest Hiking Trail Information - Local

Click Here

Los Padres National Forest ATV Trail Information – Local

Click Here

Staying Safe in the Forest

To ensure a safe and enjoyable time in the forest, visit the Los Padres National Forest website for valuable recreation and safety information.

Los Padres National Forest – Recreation and Safety

Click Here

For more information on the local area of the Los Padres National Forest, contact the Mt. Pinos Ranger District office.

Mt. Pinos Ranger District

District Ranger: Erik Van Walden
34580 Lockwood Valley Rd.
Frazier Park, CA 93225
(661) 245-3731
FAX: (661) 245-1526

For recreation or visitor information email: Rick Howell
Hours: 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, Daily

 

 

 
     

Pine Mountain Club Real Estate Home | Current Listings | Search Local MLS | Market Snapshot | Pine Mountain Club California | Cuddy Valley California | Piñon Pines California | Lake of the Woods California | Lockwood Valley California | Frazier Park California | Lebec California | Gorman California | Community Resources | County Resources | Pine Mountain Village Center | Local Events | Los Padres Forest | Mt. Pinos | Local Wildlife | Fort Tejon | Chumash Indians | Hungry Valley | Pyramid Lake | Business Directory | About Robert DeLoach | World at Our Doorstep | Explore Santa Clarita Valley | Explore Kern County | Explore Santa Barbara County | Buyers | Sellers | Mountain Living Blog | Contact Robert DeLoach | Request a DVD | Terms

2010-2013 © Copyright Pine Mountain Club Real Estate. All rights Reserved. 2010-2013 © Copyright Fox Interactive. 2010-2013 © Copyright Prescott Photography. Website Developed and Managed by PCPal Computer Services — 661-245-0100. Brokerage Services Provided by Jennings Realty.

The information presented on this site is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. All information including information presented on the MLS should be independently verified. All properties are subject to prior sale, change and withdrawal from the market. Neither listing broker(s) nor Pine Mountain Club Real Estate shall be responsible for any typographical errors or misinformation.