Hiking, backpacking, and camping throughout Southern California and beyond

Monument Peak – Peak #16

My father and I atop Mount Whitney in 1984 This was a special hike for me, since I invited my father to come along. He has been hiking and camping with me on many occasions, including the fantastic trip to Mount Whitney in 1984. We've canoed together, hiked in the snow, went for 50-mile bike rides and have gone water skiing, mostly with the boy scouts. He is 71 years old, but is very active and seems like he is 58. I found myself trying to keep up with him as he bounded up the trail ahead of me, only occasionally taking a breather. We went to see Spamalot last week and there were many elderly people there in scooters and walkers. He turned to me and said, "What's with all the old people?" This was funny to me since they were all practically the same age as him, but his activity is keeping him young, as well as his laid-back outlook. I realized again, as I have done many times in my life, that my insatiable curiosity and my attention to detail can be attributed directly to him. It was a great day, topped off with a pretty good burger at the Alpine Inn and some pleasant company.

Elevation: 6,271′ Miles: 2.9 Trailhead

On to the trip report. We got a later start, but it was OK, since it was fairly cool, with the clouds threatening to continue the rain that had arrived the night before. However, once on the trail, we warmed up and the clouds let the sun shine on us from time to time. We hiked through some meadows and pine trees, which was a nice break from the sun-beaten rocky ridges that dominate most of the hikes I have completed thus far.

Big Laguna Trail

After a couple of missed turns due to subtle signing, we found our way to the Pacific Crest Trail and made our way towards Monument Peak. As we ascended, the pine trees gave way to dense thickets of manzanita that were shoulder high.

My dad on the trail to the summit

Once we got near the peak, we encountered a great deal of equipment, some of it protected by a chain link fence. The peak's prominence at the edge of the desert makes it ideal for antennae equipment and some laser research at the adjacent Stephenson Peak.

The fence on the way to the peak

After the fence we got onto a service road and were immediately hit with some fierce winds that buffeted us all the way to the top and the entire time we spend on the peak. There was one sheltered spot by some rocks and a large manzanita that gave us some respite. The view into the Anza-Borrego Desert was incredible. For such a short hike, it was truly a panoramic view. To the east there was the desert, and to the west, we had views into the lush Laguna and Cuyamaca areas.

Whale Peak over Anza-Borrego from Monument Peak Summit

Monument Peak Summit Register

Monument Peak Summit Benchmark

My dad on the peak, enjoying the view

Hawaii-like ridge next to Stephenson Peak

The Sawtooth Mountains

We shared the peak with some very large equipment and then, happy to be leaving the challenging gusts behind, made our way back down the mountain. It was a fairly easy hike and I always enjoy the drive through Mount Laguna.

My dad on the way back down the service road. Almost out of the wind.


Ghost Mountain - Peak #17

Combs Peak - Peak #15