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Whale Peak via Pictographs/Smugglers Canyon ? Messages in this topic - RSS

dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 12


11/26/2020
dsrt_dave
dsrt_dave
Posts: 12
I am thinking of doing a backpacking trip up Whale Peak, but I was thinking parking at the Pictographs and hiking up Smugglers Canyon. Has anyone tried this route? Any thoughts on the difficulty and overall impression of this route? Any feedback is appreciated!
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Scooter
Scooter
Posts: 79


11/26/2020
Scooter
Scooter
Posts: 79
The main drainage you go up has a lot of boulders from the Smuggler side. No problem with a daypack. If you are going over night, I would take the trail coming off of Pinyon Mountain Road. Off of Pinyon Mountain Road the trail is only difficult for a very short distance
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 381


11/27/2020
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 381
Did this last year as a day hike with the wife. She is no fan of bushwhacking/route finding and she wasn't deterred by it. If you don't have a problem doing some boulder hopping and a bit of crawling up/under boulders it's not horrible. There are cairns on the south side of the canyon about 30-50' off the floor that are hard to see going up-easier coming down-this is the easier way-you avoid the large boulders and most of the brush. It's just slow going. Good thing is it's only about 1 mile of this and then you pop out near the usual trail. On my next overnight up there I will take this route along with pants. Take the smallest pack you can fit your gear into as well.

Like Scooter said-the route off of Pinyon is much easier-just harder to get to without high clearance-even then you will probably get nice desert pinstriping. Even with this easier route it starts off with boulder hopping up a ravine-just much less distance and less brush.
edited by Rocko1 on 11/27/2020
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Buford
Buford
Posts: 326


11/27/2020
Buford
Buford
Posts: 326
I agree with what everyone else said. Whale Peak is probably the easiest of the "major" peaks in the park. The Smugglers route is about as easy as it gets for that kind of hike. Backpacking weight will make it tougher but still very doable.
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dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2465


12/2/2020
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2465
Here is a map of routes I have done, you can reference them if needed. Please let us know how your trip turns out!

https://caltopo.com/m/UFEU

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http://www.sefcik.com
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rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 553


12/2/2020
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 553
I have only done the N/W "easy route". More sheltered with pinyon pines and vegetation. It's a real treasure in the park. I have always thought about doing the Southern route. Looks pretty rough and barren. Perfect for climbing on a cool day. BTW how did "Smugglers canyon" get it's name? I assume horse thieves?
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 381


12/2/2020
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 381
Thinking of giving the canyon just to the north of Smugglers a try this weekend for an overnight trip. It looks a bit less congested than Smugglers and seems to be used quite a bit when starting near Shake Benchmark.
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ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 856


12/2/2020
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 856
Enjoyed the diversity of this route. http://www.anzaborrego.net/anzaborrego/Forum/topic1515-whale-peak-overnight.aspx

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http://www.coyotelearning.org
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dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2465


12/2/2020
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2465
ziphius wrote:
Enjoyed the diversity of this route. http://www.anzaborrego.net/anzaborrego/Forum/topic1515-whale-peak-overnight.aspx

Yeah, that's a good one..! Thumbs Up

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http://www.darensefcik.com
http://www.carrizogorge.com
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Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 381


12/3/2020
Rocko1
Rocko1
Posts: 381
ziphius wrote:
Enjoyed the diversity of this route. http://www.anzaborrego.net/anzaborrego/Forum/topic1515-whale-peak-overnight.aspx



I forgot about that report. The canyon up did look a bit easier on Google Earth.
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deborah
deborah
Posts: 98


12/5/2020
deborah
deborah
Posts: 98
This is really good info. I've been curious about that route as well.

I happened to be in the lower part of Smuggler Canyon last weekend. I parked off S2 at the Vallecito campground and hiked north up Smuggler Canyon to the Pictograph trail, and then scrambled up the small peak just south of the trail (elev. 3679). The views were really nice.

On the way back I took a slightly different route to the west. Lots of fun boulder hopping/scrambling. I had such a late start, I ended up hiking the last 20 minutes or so in the dark. But the moon was really bright, I barely needed my headlamp.
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 258


12/7/2020
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 258
I've looked at the topo of those canyons on the south side wondering if anyone has ever explored them. The links show that most, if not all, have been explored by someone.
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dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2465


12/8/2020
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2465
tekewin wrote:
I've looked at the topo of those canyons on the south side wondering if anyone has ever explored them. The links show that most, if not all, have been explored by someone.
Which cyns? Bisnaga? It's all great areas to explore. I also did a trip once that went up and over Whale and went down to Split Rock, that was a tough trip down over big boulders.

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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 258


12/15/2020
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 258
dsefcik wrote:
tekewin wrote:
I've looked at the topo of those canyons on the south side wondering if anyone has ever explored them. The links show that most, if not all, have been explored by someone.
Which cyns? Bisnaga? It's all great areas to explore. I also did a trip once that went up and over Whale and went down to Split Rock, that was a tough trip down over big boulders.



Yes, Bisnaga and the 4 large canyons to the east. Sorry about the late reply, I was not set up to be notified, but now I am.
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