Hiking Sombrero Peak

Today, I decided to go on a shorter, easier hike, making my way to the summit of Sombrero Peak. I’ve been staring at this particular peak for months, so it was wonderful to finally climb it. I even got to experience some snow up on this mountain, again.

This peak is #71 on the Sierra Club’s list of 100 San Diego Peaks, located in Anza Borrego Desert State Park, a high point of the small Tierra Blanca range. Named for the white granite making up nearly all of the ground around the mountains, this granite would define my day.

IMG_3471I knew this was going to be an easier hike, so I actually started the day off a bit later than some of my other recent hikes. After drinking up my coffee and getting packed up, I head north from my camp to Indian Gorge Road. The road was surprisingly easy to drive–possibly requiring some relatively decent clearance at a few points, at most. It was easy going for Tivona, and I enjoyed the wonderful views of the canyon, as I headed to the South side to arrive at the trailhead.

IMG_3473The route up was not obvious, but not at all bad. I began following the wash up for a ways, before randomly deciding to start headed up the mountain at a spot that looked reasonable enough. The path up to the first high point of the ridge from here was pretty simple, although the rocks were often loose and the footing unstable. Never bad enough to really concern me, however, and I didn’t have to do any true scrambling. I simply found my way, easily, up to the high point, where I was able to assess my route up to the summit of Sombrero.

IMG_3477Again, from this point, the route was pretty obvious to me. There were even use trails at points, leading to an interesting pole and chain at one point along the ridge. The hike did become more difficult towards the actual summit, but that ended up being some light scrambling at most. Even much of the scrambling I did up the mountain was easily avoidable, had I chosen easier paths.

IMG_3484The entire path up to the summit was simply just fun and enjoyable. At the summit, I stopped and enjoyed the views atop one of the larger boulders for a good while, eating a small snack and getting my fill of water that I had neglected to consume the whole way up. The summit register was a bit lower, on the West side, from this point, but was quite easy to find.

Real close to the summit, I began having some pains in my left knee. This isn’t anything new to me, as I’ve had similar pains for years with exertion. I knew I was going to have to take it slow down the mountain, however, and opt not to try a second hike for the day.

I also decided to try an alternative route down the mountain. My first attempt at this ended poorly, and I actually ended up meeting back up with some of the use trails I had followed up, and ended back at the pole and chain mentioned above. From there, I decided to head as directly down to the wash as seemed reasonable. This included some of the more difficult scrambling for the day, aggravating my knee more than I really wanted.

However, entering the wash earlier was a treat, as the wash was full of lush, green plants of several varieties. This actually became more of a proper bushwhack at this point, although pretty obvious, with only slight, easy scrambling from time to time.

Eventually, I met back up with the same route I entered on, headed back to the trailhead, and finished the hike. Totaled only 3.06 miles, with the ascent slightly longer than the descent, although the ascent was notably easier.

You can get the GPX for the routes I describe here, on my Google Drive.

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