Cone Peak Summit Trail

Los Padres National Forest, California

Elevation Gain657ft
Trailhead Elevation4,851ft
Elevation Min/Max4851/5146ft
Elevation Start/End4851/4851ft

Cone Peak Summit Trail

Cone Peak Summit Trail is a hiking trail in Monterey County, California. It is within Ventana Wilderness and Los Padres National Forest. It is 0.2 miles long and begins at 4,851 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 657 feet. The trail ends near Cone Peak (elevation 5,154 feet). This trail connects with the following: Cone Peak Trail.

Cone Peak Summit Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"From the parking area, the relatively short trail climbs rigorously upward toward the summit. The trail is without shade for nearly the entire trip, though Coulter pines, with their widow-maker football-like cones, appear closer toward the apex. Temperatures can be incredibly hot in the summertime, so bring lots of water. Wildflowers are abundant, such as yellow poppies, Indian paintbrush, monkey flower, and penstemon. Butterflies, such as the variable checkerspot, and lizards, such as the western whiptail can also be commonly seen. Poison oak along the trail is frequently eradicated by dedicated volunteers who trim it away, so bare legs are relatively safe along this hike. Views open up immediately."

"Three miles from the ocean, Cone Peak rises a mile to the sky. In summer 1999, most of Ventana Wilderness burned. Cone Peak, the dominant mountain of the southern wilderness, burned with it. Life has since rebounded on these sheer slopes, yet does little to hide the seamless joining of ocean and sky, the towering coastal vistas, or the sweeping panorama of the Santa Lucia Mountains."

"The vistas from atop Cone Peak are some of the most spectacular along the Big Sur coast. The 5,1 55-foot peak rises nearly a mile from the ocean in just over 3 miles. It is one of the steepest gradients from the ocean to the summit in the United States. From the summit are 360-degree views of the ocean, the surrounding peaks, and the valleys along the Santa Lucia Range. This hike follows the moderate southern slope to a fire lookout atop the peak. The lookout is only occupied during the fire season."

"This is the shortest trail to one of the highest peaks in the Santa Lucia Range. Trails to 5862-foot Junipero Serra, 4853-foot Ventana Double Cone, and 4417-foot Mt. Carmel require significantly more elevation gain and mileage to summit. If you’re bound for this summit when Cone Peak Road is closed (November through May), tack on the additional 5.2 miles each way between the trailhead and junction with Nacimiento-Fergusson Road."

"Readily accessible off the coast highway, this drive provides outstanding views of the ocean and interior mountains and valleys, especially from the 5,155-foot summit of Cone Peak, where there’s a fire lookout. The peak is at the head of Limekiln Canyon, one of the steepest coastal canyons in the U.S. Obtain a National Forest Adventure Pass to hike Cone Peak."

"You can approach this 15-mile loop as either an extremely strenuous day hike or a more enjoyable yet still strenuous backpacking trip, staying at one or more of the four camps along the route. Most people hike the 2.2 miles to Vicente Flat Camp, spend the night, and get a fresh start the following day. The onward route is slow going, as sections of the Stone Ridge Trail are overgrown with brush with faint, steep tread. If you do opt for a multiday trek, stay a second or third night at Goat, Ojito, or Trail Spring Camps. Regardless of your route, don’t miss the 0.3-mile spur to the summit."

"This is the shortest trail to one of the highest peaks in the Santa Lucia Range, 5155-foot Cone Peak. Trails to 5862-foot Junipero Serra, 4727-foot Ventana Double Cone, and 4417-foot Mt. Carmel require significantly more elevation gain and mileage to summit. Lording over the southern Ventana Wilderness, Cone Peak offers boundless views along the rugged flanks of the Santa Lucias to the rocky Pacific. The hike is best enjoyed in spring and fall, when fog banks roll well offshore. In winter, snow may fall on the summit, and temperatures can drop below freezing. Bring plenty of water and extra clothing along this exposed trail, and be prepared for rapidly changing conditions."

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Trail Information

Los Padres National Forest
Nearby City
Los Padres National Forest
Ventana Wilderness, Los Padres National Forest
Local Contacts
A Guide to Ventana & Silver Peak Wilderness by the US Forest Service, Big Sur and Ventana Wilderness by Wilderness Press, USGS 7.5-min. Chews Ridge
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018