Warm Springs Mountain is North and West of where I have been hiking for the last two years, so this is a new area for me. It is about 70 miles (110 km) from home, most of it by the 405 and 5 freeways, then northeast on Lake Hughes Road near Castaic Lake. It seemed to be one of the few straight forward mountains in the “Transverse Range” (W6 CT-XXX) that had not yet been activated. It is approachable by mountain bike on USFS roads 6N32.1 and 7N13. During research for this peak I found a few reports; it does not seem to see too many hikers or bikers. Matt Maxon has a report at http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1371686 He mentions that road 6N32 has a “Closed” sign at the start, but he called the USFS Santa Clara/Mogave Rivers District Office and found that it is open to non-motorized travel. To be sure, I called them at 661 269 2808. I spoke with USFS employee named Ron; he looked in his data sheets and said that 6N32.1 is “not closed” and I would be fine on my mountain bike.
Arrived before sun rise, had some coffee from the thermos flask, and prepped the bike and gear. I set off by headlamp at 0555. The temperature was a nice cool 50F (10C). The first mile of the road is a gentle uphill to the right of the river bed, then heads along the side of the canyon and is steeper; I walked the bike when it was too steep. After 55 minutes I reached the top of the canyon and the intersection with road 7N13; about 3 miles from the start. This was about sunrise. Up to this point, the road had been good; firm packed dirt/gravel with some sand.
Heading up that way
From here the road continued to be good, firmer and rockier.
The gradient was usually OK so I did not have to push too much.
View to the west
Not too far from the summit, looking back at the easier road following the switchbacks
After just less than an hour more the tower on the summit is in view
Last push to the top. Total was 2h 10 min to the top from the start
Out of breath, I set up the two meter j-pole here and made two contacts
I then moved the mast and set up for HF. I wanted some shade because the day was forecast to be very hot. I was also carrying 6 pints (2.5 l) of water. I didn’t climb the tower; there are some stairs missing and I didn’t want to risk it. There seem to be some repeater antennas on the tower.
Wokred 20m, 30m, then back to 20m. Lots of good QSOs
2m FM: KK6LKN K6WMD
20m CW: N4EX VE7KBN NS7P NE4TN WB5USB KG3W N7KRN K6TUY K7ZO W4DOW N4MJ K7FO W0MNA W0ERI AA5CK W0RW AE4FZ K4MF N7WM WA2USA
30m CW: W7RV KB7HH K6EL K0LAF K6TUY NK6A KT5X KC6SSE
Also a weather station at the top
Redrock Mountain (W6 CT-139). View to the northwest. I think this may remain unactivated because there is a lot of bush whacking along the ridge to get to the summit
Sawtooth Mountain right (W6 CT-117), Burnt Peak left (W6 CT-093). View north
Ready to head down
I found a register. Very few people have signed this one; the last entry was 2013. Here is Matt Maxon’s entry from 2011.
View to the west near the start of the ride down
You can see how good the road is. A pleasure to ride on.
I will be going around to the left, then down the side of the canyon. Glad I don’t have to walk all the way back!
Now back on 6N32, looking back towards Warm Springs Mountain. The sign says the road is open to motorized vehicles. I guess the USFS does not keep their signs up to date. It conflicts with signs at the bottom! And the signs at the bottom conflict with themselves.
Pretty good road, but take care in the sandy spots
The final mile or so is shaded by the trees!
A very nice ride here
This is the start of 6N32 at Lake Hughes Road
You start right by this disused county medical center
Park across the road on the wide dirt shoulder
Put the gear in the Jeep, and the bike on the rack. Had some more to drink. The temperature was now 81F (27C). The ride was 6.5 miles (10 km) each way, with 2000 ft (600m) of elevation gain. A very nice ride. 2h 10 min up, 45 min down.
View of Warm Springs Mountain and Castaic Lake from Lake Hughes Road. You can see from the water level that we are in a drought…and have been for 4 years now
And then lots of traffic on the freeways; more than I am used to when I return from my “usual” hikes and rides….
Postscript: Warm Springs Mountain, Burnt Peak, and Sawtooth were closed during parts of 2013 and 2014 due to the “Powerhouse Fire”. You can view the closure info at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/angeles/alerts-notices. The current map (dated Oct 22 2014) shows the closed area; Warm Springs, Burnt, Sawtooth are open, as is 6N32 if you look closely. 6N24 (which is half a mile south of 6N32) and heads east is closed. Tule Ridge (W6 CT-145) is in the closed area.