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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: 83


11/26/2020
Scooter
Scooter
Posts: 83
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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Buford
Buford
Posts: 333


11/27/2020
Buford
Buford
Posts: 333
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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rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 560


12/2/2020
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 560
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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ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 862


12/2/2020
ziphius
ziphius
Posts: 862
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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deborah
deborah
Posts: 103


12/5/2020
deborah
deborah
Posts: 103
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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