Frazier Mountain, Los Padres National Forest, CA

Frazier Mountain from Chuchupate Campground

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Frazier Mountain, Los Padres National Forest, CA
Looking northeast from Frazier Mountain’s summit
Frazier Mountain, Los Padres National Forest, CA
Matilija poppies on Frazier Mountain

Frazier Mountain from Chuchupate Campground

  • Location: Chuchupate Campground, Los Padres National Forest, northeast Ventura County. From Interstate 5, take the Frazier Mtn. Park Road exit (205) and head west for 7 miles to Lake of the Woods. Turn left on Lockwood Valley Road, follow it 0.9 mile and turn left onto Forest Route 8n04/Frazier Mountain Road. Follow the winding, one-lane road for 2.4 miles to the campground. There’s room for a few cars by the information board at the entrance; since the campground is first-come first serve, you can also park at any open sites. A National Forest Service Adventure Pass ($5 per day or $30 for the year) is required for parking here. Click here to purchase.
  • Agency: Los Padres National Forest/Mt. Pinos Ranger District
  • Distance: 9.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,850 feet
  • Suggested time: 4 hours
  • Difficulty rating: PG-13 (distance, elevation gain, altitude)
  • Best season: May – October. May be closed during winter months; check conditions before going.
  • USGS topo map: Frazier Mountain
  • Recommended gear: sunblock; sun hat
  • More information:  Summitpost page here; information about the lookout here and here; Map My Hike report here
  • Rating: 6
Frazier Mountain, Los Padres National Forest, CA
0:00 – Leaving the campground (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)

Frazier Mountain (elevation 8,013 feet) is a prominent summit in the northeastern Los Padres National Forest, towering over the Tejon Pass. During the warmer months, it is possible to drive to the summit, but hikers who want more of a challenge (and don’t mind sharing the fire road with dirt bikers and other off-highway vehicles) can make a day trip from the Chuchupate Campground. That the entire route is on dirt roads might be a turnoff for some, but the hike does reward those who make the effort with some panoramic views of Lockwood Valley and the high desert. The lower portion of the hike is almost entirely exposed and can be hot during the summer, but the upper half is pleasantly shaded. This hike is a good choice for high-altitude training, starting at over 6,000 feet above sea level. During the late spring, the hillside is accented by wildflowers including Matilija poppies, Indian paintbrush and lupines.

Trough on Frazier Mountain, Los Padres National Forest, CA
0:13 – Watering trough (times are approximate)

From the campground, follow road 8n04 uphill. It makes a serpentine ascent, taking in views of the valley and the campground below. You pass a horse trough about half a mile from the start and at 1.8 miles, you reach a Penny Pines plantation where the names of donors are listed on a board. The pines become thicker at this point, soon shading the entire road (except perhaps at high noon).

Penny Pines Plantation, Frazier Mountain, Los Padres National Forest
0:45 – If you’d donated, you’d want people to stop and look at your name too

At 3.3 miles, you reach a Y-junction; some hikers opt to drive to this point and begin the trip here. Turn right and continue on 8n04 under the pleasant shade of the pines. Stay straight at 4.2 miles, where a road branches off toward West Frazier Mountain. Soon after, the summit antennas come into view. At 4.5 miles, you reach the lookout, which is dwarfed by the antennas. The lookout is in dilapidated condition and climbing it, while done by hikers, is not advisable. The best views from Frazier Mountain’s elongated summit are about a tenth of a mile east of the lookout. Through the pines, you can get glimpses of the high desert and the Tehachapi Mountains.

Frazier Mountain, Los Padres National Forest, CA
1:22 – Turn right at the junction to stay on 8n04

Text and photography copyright 2016 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities.  By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail.  Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Wildflowers on Frazier Mountain, Los Padres National Forest, CA
2:00 – Wildflowers on the summit of Frazier Mountain

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