- Location: Pine Mountain, Los Padres National Forest, northern Ventura County. From Highway 33, head east on Pine Mountain Ridge Road (31.5 miles north of Highway 150, 49 miles north of Highway 101 and 5.8 miles south of Lockwood Valley Road). Follow the road 7.1 miles to the Reyes Peak Trail Head at the end (the last mile is dirt but should be passable by most vehicles). Exercise caution on the winding, one-lane road. Also note that many of the roads in this area are subject to weather-related closures. Check road statuses here.
- Agency: Los Padres National Forest/Mt. Pinos Ranger District
- Distance: 1.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 550 feet
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Difficulty rating: PG
- Best season: June – October (pending road conditions)
- Recommended gear: hiking poles; insect repellent
- Recommended guidebook: Hiking and Backpacking Santa Barbara and Ventura
- Dogs: Allowed (some dogs may have difficulty climbing the rocks below the summit)
- Cell phone reception: Weak in some spots; none for most of the route
- Water: None
- Restrooms: Vault toilets at the trail head
- Camping/backpacking: The nearest campsites are Pine Mountain and Reyes Peak, both of which you will have passed on the way to the Reyes Peak Trailhead. Haddock Camp is 5.8 miles from the parking area via the Reyes Peak trail (which is not the route to the summit; see below for more details). Camping is not allowed at the Reyes Peak Trailhead.
- More information: Trip descriptions here and here; AllTrails report here
- Rating: 7
Reyes Peak (elevation 7,514) is the highest point on Pine Mountain Ridge in the Los Padres National Forest, the dividing point between the Santa Clarita River watershed to the south and Cuyama and Lockwood Valleys to the north. The summit is known for its round boulders and panoramic views. Even the shortest possible route, described below, feels pleasantly rugged and adventurous. Hikers who want a more ambitious trip can start from the Reyes Peak Campground, about one mile away, or even from the Chorro Grande Trail – a 17-mile epic with 4,000 feet of elevation gain.
From the parking area, follow the trail for a level 0.1 mile to a junction. Confusingly, the main branch of the Reyes Peak Trail does not go to Reyes Peak. If you find yourself going downhill, you’re in the wrong direction. Instead, bear right on a use trail that heads uphill through the pines. When Reyes Peak had a lookout (1927-1932) this was the established route to the summit; it has since seen enough use that it is easy to follow, if a little steep and loose in some spots.
The trail climbs 200 feet in a quarter mile, reaching a ridge with views of the Cuyama Valley to the north and Rose Valley to the south. Reyes Peak’s round summit can be seen to the southeast. Another steep climb brings you to the northern base of the summit. Pick your route and make your way to the top with some moderate scrambling.
From the peak, your views include the Sespe basin below you, the Nordhoff Ridge to the south and if visibility is good, the ocean beyond. The eastern view is dominated by the steep walls of Beartrap Canyon. After enjoying the panorama, carefully make your way down the rocks and the steep trail back to the parking area.
In case you were wondering, Reyes Peak was named after 19th century homesteader Rafael Reyes and father of Jacinto Reyes, namesake of the stretch of Highway 33 that runs below Pine Mountain. The younger Reyes served as Cuyama District ranger for 31 years.
Text and photography copyright 2017 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.