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Heald Peak


Location: Kern County, about 5 miles east of Weldon, 175 miles from Los Angeles


Auto Club Kern County
Forest Service Sequoia National Forest
USGS Topo Woolstalf Creek 7½
Official HPS Maps TPO file - Save to your computer then open with National Geographic TOPO!
  Viewable JPG file - Approximately 1.4 megs
  GPX file or Google Earth KML file to download to GPS units and other map software (How to use GPX and KML files)
  Routes as shown on CalTopo using the above files (How to use CalTopo)

Nearby Peaks: Nicolls Peak

Printable version of this route


Distance: 10 miles round trip on trail and cross-country
Gain: 3500'
Time: 7-8 hours round trip
Rating: Class 1, strenuous
Brush: Very heavy brush

Original: Paul A. Lipsohn and Dick Akawie, August 1974


  • Start at SR 178 and Kernville Airport Road junction.
  • Go 0.2 mile west to Vista Grande Road and turn left.
  • Low slung vehicles can drive to parking area with care. Mark odometers at Vista Grande and SR 178.
  • Go south on Vista Grande.
  • In 0.5 mile, pavement ends at Bella Vista. Go straight.
  • In 0.3 mile, intersect Hill View Acres Road. Go right.
  • In 0.8 mile, intersect Brooks Road. Go left.
  • Proceed on Brooks Road past "El Rancho Poco" and several intersections to the "W" ranch.
  • In 1.0 mile, just before the "W" ranch, several roads meet.
  • Take the one that veers left (but not sharply).
  • In 0.3 mile, road comes in from sharp left. Keep straight.
  • In 0.1 mile, fork. Go right.
  • In 0.1 mile, fork. Go right 1/4 mile or less until you see a road going down to a wash on the right. Park here.

Note: The roads are very faint and may be difficult to see. Check your mileages going in and coming out.


  • From the parking area (3412'), go across the wash and pick up the road on the other side.
  • Hike up it 1/3 mile to a gate marking the National Forest Boundary. Continue up the road 400' farther to the junction with trail 34E15 to the right, at a sign "Dry Meadow - 4".
  • Follow the trail about 3 miles to elevation 6500', on the ridge southwest from Heald.
  • Leave the trail here and go east, contouring around the north side of elevation 6850'+ to get on the ridge going to the east from elevation 6850'. The thick brush in the area before the ridge cannot be avoided.
  • Continue east along the ridge to the saddle at 6160'+. The very heavy brush on this ridge can be circumvented on the right (south). Then hike northwest and north along the ridge to the summit.

Printable version of this route


(Combines Nicolls and Heald)
Distance: 6 miles round trip cross-country from Nicolls Peak
Gain: 2200' from Nicolls Peak
Time: 5 hours round trip
Rating: Class 2, strenuous
Brush: Very heavy brush

Original: Paul A. Lipsohn and Dick Akawie, August 1974



  • From the summit of Nicolls Peak, hike back down to the saddle you hiked up to from the parking area.
  • Follow the ridge south-southwest over bumps 5207', 6023', and 6808' to the summit of Heald. There is a steep section of class 2 just north of bump 6808'. Hike up the ducked and clipped use trail over the class 2 rocks. There is a sea of brush after the top of the class 2 section. It can be bypassed somewhat on the left (east). This way is a bit easier than trying to push through the middle of the brush. Care must be used to identify your route to the peak so you can return the same way. It is very easy to get lost in the brush. The placing of supplemental stick marks at critical points can be useful.


Nicolls and Heald are often combined as a single long day hike since the driving route is almost identical for both.


The peak is named for the founder of the Hundred Peaks Section, Weldon F. Heald. A dedication climb was led April 27, 1974, at which time a plaque was placed just below the summit boulder.

Learn more about Heald Peak.

Please report any corrections or changes to the Mountain Records Chair.

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