ApproachOnce at the parking lot, look for a gate blocking an old dirt road which runs behind the outhouses. Follow the dirt road for a short distance until reaching a creek. Cross the creek and turn right on the signed trail entering the Charon Gardens Wilderness. Follow this trail for about a mile, crossing a large streambed. The trail will climb up onto a low plateau where the entire Charon Garden Wilderness and Sunset Peak will come into view. When you have hiked approximately one mile from the parking lot (and up on the plateau) you will need to leave the trail and hike northwest toward Sunset Peak. The GPS coordinates where you leave the trail are: N34.72771 W98.73811. The approach is now over and you will now begin a cross-country trek and bushwhack up the mountain.
Route DescriptionFrom GPS coordinates N34.72771 W98.73811, head directly northwest toward the Sunset Peak massive, following a faint animal trail. From this point, you can do either the north or south summit of the massive. The faint trail begins traversing the plateau across the prairie and quickly passes a small pond on the right. The trail eventually disappears, but head slightly downhill into the woods and cross a stream. Continue NW and begin climbing up to the top of a rocky knoll. From the top of the knoll, you can decide whether to climb the middle or south summit of Sunset Peak. Either way, go north, and slightly descend the north side of the knoll. If climbing the south summit, turn left (west) and continue to descend into a wooded canyon before bushwacking up the east slope through the scrub oak. If climbing the middle summit, cross a small saddle, then head up the east slope, picking your way through the scrub oak and boulders. Total round-trip distance from the parking lot to the summit is 4.5 miles.
Essential GearNo matter what time of year, wear long pants. All but the first of this hike is a total bushwack and your legs will never forgive you if you wear shorts.
GPS if you want to use the coordinates provided in the route description. Take a 1/24 USGS map and a compass and know how to use them.
Highly recommend insect repellent in early fall and spring to ward off the ticks and chiggers. Bring lots of water if the weather is warm. Water sources in the Charon Gardens Wilderness are questionable.