Ascent of Cerro Alto on 2012-12-27

Climber: Peter Robbert

Others in Party:Emma Lauriston
Date:Thursday, December 27, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Cerro Alto
    Elevation:2624 ft / 799 m

Ascent Trip Report

Ten years ago when we climbed this peak, we made a mistake. We resolved never to come back.

The trail is not very interesting being surrounded and sometimes walking in a tunnel of chapparral. It basically goes straight up and back down again. We even did some exploring and decided that it would be fun on a mountain bike but was a really boring hike. Neither of us could remember but we must have come on a cloudy day because I don’t recall any views worth bragging about.

What an error! On a sunny day, when the coast is clear, this is an amazing hike. You can see most of San Luis Obispo County and into Fresno and Monterey. The coast is visible from north of Cayucos to Montana de Oro in Los Osos. Morro Rock and the Seven Sisters are all visible as well as mountains in the Santa Lucia and Diablo ranges.

We parked at the end of the campground where there is an area for day use. We did a loop leaving the campground from the east end and hiking to an old utility road. It was great to see the creeks running from the recent rains. The trail was covered by Bay Trees in the beginning and by the chaparral as we ascended. At mile 1.7 we turned onto single track for the final mile to the top. The trail wasn’t steep but was consistently uphill. On the summit, the bald top allowed amazing views in every direction. The recent storms had cleared the air and the partly cloudy conditions made the light seam unreal. The bright chartreuse green of young grasses were visible in all of the valleys on the coast side making it look like a scene out of Middle Earth, not central California. On the trail down, we stayed straight at the intersection of the utility road and proceeded a mile to the campground. We came across a bridge almost exactly below the parking area. I didn’t see any signs for this trail from the parking area but if you look for the bridge, I’m sure you will find the trailhead.

It’s not a great hike but the view is worth every bit of effort on clear day.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1609 ft / 490 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1609 ft / 490 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4.7 mi / 7.6 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1609 ft / 490 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Start Trailhead:1015 ft / 309 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1609 ft / 490 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    End Trailhead:1015 ft / 309 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Peter Robbert
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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