This mountain stands as the most dominant peak in the Southern Sierra area right outside the towns of Ridgecrest and Inyokern. The hike up to the summit is short but intense, gaining around 2850 feet in around 2 miles. The views from the top are impressive. Telescope peak can be seen to the east, Mt Whitney, Langley and Olancha to the north, Lake Isabella to the west, and desert views all around you. The route up is mostly a hike, but does involve scrambling on some class 2 granite slabs and one short boulder hop before that.
There are also many good rock climbing routes on the ridge just east of the peak. There are climbs on both the north and south sides - some are known to be chossy, but some are of rather good quality as well.
If you're lucky, you'll be at the top when the birds play in the wind. They'll drift around until they catch a gust and then go whizzing right past the summit - sometimes close to your head!! I know a few people, including myself, who have seen this.
It's a little tricky getting to the trailhead. If heading North on the 14/395 you need to take a left at the top of the hill just past the Indian Wells Valley brewery. A dirt road takes you to the trailhead from there. It's easy to take a wrong turn in a few spots. I found the directions on this page very helpful for finding the right way:
Owens Peak driving directions
None - no permits required. You can quite often have the place to yourself, when hiking this peak.
When To Climb
You can climb this peak year round. However, winter, spring and fall is the best time. Despite the elevation, this peak can get HOT in the summer time. I seem to recall some of the hot months being rather buggy. In addition, winter time can find this peak with a nice amount of snow on it, and could require the use of gaiters and an ice axe.
There is a picturesque campsite right near the TH, but it would be primitive camping. No toilets, water, etc.
From the Jenkins guide:
"The pioneer explorer John C Fremont honored Richard Owens, a member of his third expedition, by naming Owens Lake for him. Owens Valley, River, Point and Peak were later named, but there is no evidence that Owens ever saw these places."
- Morris/Jenkins/Owens dayhike - Oct 24, 2005
- Pictures of my hike to Owens Peak via Indian Wells Canyon
Pictures taken 11/5/05
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