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This peak guide is presented for the convenience of our visitors.
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No. 36 Cave Mountain (3,585') California

This guide is based on a Sage article by Bob Michael.

Topo Map: Cave Mountain 7½
Coordinates: Lat 35 04 16 Lon 116 19 24
Trip Stats: unknown


The most reasonable route comes in from the Afton Canyon road on the west. The topo shows a road taking off from the Afton Canyon road near a powerline crossing. This latter road has fallen into disuse as shown by the unmarked road-grader berm at its beginning. This whole area is also full of blow sand; therefore, play it safe and park your 2WD vehicles at the junction.


The hike crosses open desert for about 3.5 miles on an increasingly sandy road, leading into a shallow canyon which is so sandy only a dune buggy could try it. But, the road keeps going, up into a hanging valley at 2400' on the peak's south side. Here, veer to the NE to get on an easy ridge with great views off either side. The ridge ascends in a couple steps and flat landings to the crux of the route, about 200 very steep feet of really loose, shattered, treacherous grunge leading into big boulders which make for somewhat better going as one nears the summit ridge. The beautiful summit area is an open platform of maybe a half acre, with several boulder stacks; the highest one is a short scramble to the delightful top, smooth form-fitting granite.


By far the most impressive peak close to 1-15 between Cajon Pass and Baker, the isolated pyramid of Cave Mountain has a commanding presence that far exceeds its modest altitude. It is visible from great distances to the east or west along the Interstate. Its very steep north face looms right over the highway; any route here looks decidedly nasty, with menacing almost-vertical gullies stacked with big boulders seemingly at the angle of repose.

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Updated: February 8, 2012