** Use at Your Own Risk **
See the Retired Peak Guides in the Archives for Microsoft Word and other versions of this peak guide.
Location: Santa Barbara County, about 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, 145 miles from Los Angeles
|Auto Club||Santa Barbara County|
|Forest Service||Los Padres National Forest: Mt Pinos, Ojai and Santa Barbara Ranger Districts|
|USGS Topos||Big Pine Mountain 7½, Madulce Peak 7½, Fox Mountain 7½, Salisbury Potrero 7½|
|Official HPS Maps
||TPO file - Save to your computer then open with National Geographic TOPO!|
| ||Viewable PDF file - Approximately 9 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: West Big Pine, Samon Peak, Madulce Peak
Printable version of this route
(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
- Distance: 31 miles round trip on dirt road
- Gain: 4200'
- Time: 18-20 hours round trip (2 days)
- Rating: Class 1, very strenuous
- Navigation: Easy
Original: John Backus, May 1981
DRIVING ROUTE 1
- Drive north on I-5 past the Grapevine to the SR 166 off-ramp. Turn
- Head west 36.5 miles, passing through Maricopa, to the junction with
SR 33 south. This junction may be reached by a slower route via SR 33
north from Ojai. (There is a junction with SR 33 north in Maricopa that
you will pass in Maricopa.) Turn left (south).
- Go 2.7 miles to Foothill Road on the right. Turn right (west).
- Go 2.1 miles, crossing the Cuyama River, to the Santa Barbara Canyon
Road (9N11) on the left. Turn left, note your odometer, and go as
- At 3.1 miles, just past a ranch house, junction with a dirt road on
the left and a paved road on the right with a sign "Santa Barbara
Canyon Road". Turn right.
- At 7.5 miles, fork with Santa Barbara Ranch visible ahead. Go right
and cross a creek. The pavement ends.
- At 10.8 miles, fork with Dry Canyon Road on the left. This is the
turnoff for Lizard Head and
Cuyama Peak (LO). Keep straight.
- At 12.6 miles, a locked gate. Park here.
If the Cuyama River is impassable, return to the junction of SR 166
and SR 33 and go as follows:
- Go west on SR 166 for 4.7 miles to a bridge over the Cuyama
River, and an immediate junction past the bridge, on your left. This is
Kirschenmann Road (paved). Turn left.
- Continue 2.4 miles to the end of Kirschenmann at Foothill Road. Turn
- Drive 3 miles to Santa Barbara Canyon Road on the right (south). Turn
right and continue as above.
HIKING ROUTE 1
- From the parking area (3440'), hike through the small gate and continue
up the road. At 4 miles there are the posts of a second gate; off the road
to the right is a flat area suitable for camping.
- Continue up the road,
keeping left at a fork with Sierra Madre Road about 0.5 mile farther, and
go about 5 miles farther to Chokecherry Spring (5500'),
marked by a water trough and a large water tank. This is the turnoff
for Samon Peak.
- Continue south up the road
about 1.7 miles (700' of gain) to a saddle where the road starts
downhill. About 30 yards past the saddle, a trail starts off to the left,
visible from the saddle. This is the turnoff for Madulce
- Continue on the road about 1.2 miles to a fork. The left fork
leads a short distance to the old Alamar station site. This is an
excellent dry campsite.
- Take the right fork and continue 2 miles to where
a jeep road goes up the slope to the left.
- Continuing on the main road
leads to West Big Pine. Instead, turn left and
ascend the jeep road, which becomes a use trail near the broad flat
summit. The register is located on a rock outcrop at the apparent high
The road that goes past Chokecherry Spring separates Dick Smith
Wilderness, on the east, from San Rafael Wilderness, on the west. The road
itself is not Wilderness, and is suitable for mountain bikes.
water at Chokecherry Spring. If you camp at Alamar, you must carry
overnight water 3 miles and about 1000' gain from Chokecherry Spring.
Bears frequent the area, so it is advisable to bear-proof foodstuffs and
other consumables when leaving your campsite.
Big Pine Mountain is
generally climbed with Madulce Peak,
West Big Pine and Samon Peak
on a 3-day backpack trip called, "The Big Four". For all four
peaks, the distance is 45 miles, the gain is about 8000', and the whole
experience is very strenuous.
Big Pine Mountain is the high point of Santa
Please report any corrections or changes to the
Mountain Records Chair.