Bald Mountain is a small hillock that can be seen just off Mt Umunhum Rd. It is easy to find and makes for a good, although short, hike. It is located within the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. From the summit of Bald Mountain, other peaks such as Mt Umunhum, Loma Prieta, and El Sombroso can be seen. Due to the peaks proximity to a road, it is hiked very frequently. The hike from the trailhead to the summit takes about 10 minutes. Though this is a very short and unassuming hike, the views from the summit are outstanding. The large Herbert Creek drainage presents itself nicelyt to the south and southwest. Mt Umunhum and the Box are clearly seen from a uniquely angle.
Bald Mountain is an easy mountain to get to. There are two routes to get to the top. The "Easy Route" is only 0.7 miles roundtrip and the trail is class one all the way. There is a "Long Route" that is about 6 miles long and provides a bit more elevation gain and covers more ground, obviously.
Starting at the intersection of Highway 17 and Highway 85, go south on 85 for about 2.5 miles and exit onto Camden Avenue and turn south (towards the mountains). Go down Camden for about 2 miles and then turn right on Hicks Rd. Follow Hicks Rd for about 7 miles, passing Guadalupe Rexervoir, and up a large hill until you reach the Hicks and Mt Umunhum intersection. Next to the intersection there is a parking area with a bathroom and maps of the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. Here is where the "Long Route" begins. If you want to hike up the short way, continue driving about 1.3 miles until a gate bars any more vehicular access up the road. Park here. Bald Mountain will be visible from here.
Normal open space rules apply here. The preserve is only open during the day, and this includes driving on Mt Umunhum Rd. No camping, no fires, etc.
Keep in mind that this is a local "party-spot", many people coming up to this area after dark (when they should not be up there) to drink, smoke, and do whatever. Plan accordingly.
When To Climb
Any time of the year!
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