Mt. Pinos Snowshoe

"To the summit"

In the Chumash Wilderness of the Los Padres Nat'L Forest, near Frazier Park, Ca.




 DESCRIPTION                        reported by Johnathan Behr

  Mount Pinos (8,831ft.) is the highest point in the entire Los Padres National Forest, our state's largest national forest. . Stretching from Big Sur in the north to Ventura County in the south, the Los Padres' encompasses a vast amount of public land. Nearly 2,000,000 acres in all! Within it's boundaries, diverse Eco-systems thrive.

The Los Padres' pristine, wind-swept beaches, wild rivers and canyons, oak-studded coastal mountains and thickly forested alpine regions form a microcosm of the beautiful landscapes California has become known throughout the world for.

At the southern edge of the Los Padres, elevations exceed 8,000 feet near Frazier Park. This is the rooftop of the Los Padres National Forest. These mountains have been designated the Chumash Wilderness, and Mount Pinos is considered by the Chumash Tribe to be the center of their universe. A place of great spiritual power, where the Gods dwelled.

Indeed, Mount Pinos is a special place. It is crowned with a rich forest of white and noble fir, ponderosa and Jeffrey pine, as well as, lodgepole and limber pine near the summit. The summit itself is really more of broad undulating plateau that unfortunately has been marred by the installation of an aeronautical microwave relay station. Despite this intrusion of man and technology, you can still have a meaningful wilderness experience on Mount Pinos.

Without a doubt, the most beautiful time to visit Mount Pinos is after a series of cold, wet, pacific storms has turned the landscape into a winter wonderland. Mount Pinos is one of Southern California's premiere destinations for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing because of its rolling, open terrain, excellent snow and lovely views. Add the factor of easy, paved road access to the trailhead parking lot at 8,300 feet, and you can see why Mount Pinos is so popular with alpine enthusiasts.

In less than an hour of snowshoeing, you can be standing on top of a mountain that is nearly 9,000 feet tall with panoramic views of the Central Valley, the Southern Sierra, the Tehachipi mountains and the San Gabriels'. Even the shimmering Pacific and the distant Channel Islands can be seen on a clear day! This is a great place to take in the enormity and diversity of the Southern California landscape. .

 Park your car at the road-end parking lot on the Mount Pinos Rd. On your left as you drive into the parking area is the snow-covered forest service road which winds its way to the summit. Start out on the road and quickly you will come upon a gate. Continue past the gate and follow the road to your left. The road will climb gradually as it snakes through the forest till you reach a broad plateau. Continue following the well-beaten path across the open meadow and then your path will climb briefly again through the trees till you reach another open meadow / plateau. From here you will see the FAA installation and the true summit of Mount Pinos. Just keep following the tracks of others before you. They will lead straight to the summit. Return the way you came.