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Owens Peak
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Owens Peak

Owens Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 35.73800°N / 117.996°W

Object Title: Owens Peak

Elevation: 8453 ft / 2576 m


Page By: ExploreABitMore

Created/Edited: May 30, 2005 / May 31, 2005

Object ID: 154143

Hits: 22573 

Page Score: 87.31%  - 24 Votes 

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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.

Getting There

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

Red Tape

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."

External Links

Additions and Corrections

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Viewing: 1-7 of 7    
Bob BurdUntitled Comment

Bob Burd

Voted 10/10

The summit register (as of Oct 2004) goes back to 1959, one of the oldest registers to be found in the Southern Sierra.
Posted May 31, 2005 12:59 am
artirmRe: Untitled Comment


Hasn't voted

Unfortunately, as of Oct 2013, the register goes back hardly a month...
Posted Oct 28, 2013 10:31 am


Hasn't voted

The link provided on the main page indeed gives the best instructions. The "dirt road" shown on the map to go all the way to the TH is in fact much worse than the "jeep trail" recommended on the climber.org page.

Google directions (Oct, 2013) sent us along the "dirt road" and that was a true test of my Element's off road capabilities.
Posted Oct 28, 2013 10:44 am
bobpickeringRe: Directions


Hasn't voted

It appears that the BLM has been doing considerable roadwork since 2013. All the roads have signs with road numbers, but no road names. Google Maps and the climber.org directions are wrong as of 6/15/17.

Turn onto the dirt road 0.2 miles north of Indian Wells Lodge. There is no sign here, but you will soon see signs indicating that you are on SE152. After about 2.8 miles, you will continue past a road on the left, and SE152 becomes SE164. Follow SE164 about 5 miles to the trailhead (easier said than done).

Posted Jun 17, 2017 4:52 pm
395erRoad in Bad Shape 1/15/17

Hasn't voted

Lots of rain!!!

The series of dirt roads to the trailhead were extremely washed out after mile 3. No problem in the landcruiser (although I was wishing I had brought a shovel and boards) but not the usual 2wd high clearance road. 4wd only for a while. There was a rockslide and a cow sized boulder in the road just past the last creek crossing. Unless you have a motorcycle will add about a 1/2 mile to the hike.
Posted Jan 20, 2017 5:58 pm
RomainRe: Road in Bad Shape 1/15/17


Hasn't voted

2/6/17. Indeed, very washed out road as of today. Stopped about a mile short of the TH doe to a deep water groove across the whole span of the road. Didn't want to risk it even in a 4Runner.
Posted Feb 6, 2017 10:50 pm
bobpickeringRe: Road in Bad Shape 1/15/17


Hasn't voted

I went up 6/15/17 in my F250 4X4 long bed with ordinary all season tires. The lower part of the road was pretty good, but the higher I went, the worse it got. There were many deep ruts running down and across the road. I was able to get by all of them by driving slowly and carefully, but it wasn’t easy.

There was a huge boulder in the road at 5,350’, just after crossing Morris Canyon. Some vehicles had been driving around it, right on the edge of a steep drop off. I didn’t want to take that chance with such a big vehicle in the dark, so I backed down to Morris Canyon, and turned around. I ended up parking less than a mile from the trailhead.

The BLM was working on smoothing the road and filling in all the ruts. They were using a small bulldozer, not much bigger than a Bobcat. The lower ruts were already repaired, and they seemed to be working their way up to the trailhead. The repaired sections were smooth, but like driving on 6” of talcum powder.
Posted Jun 17, 2017 4:29 pm

Viewing: 1-7 of 7    


Owens Peak Summit ViewNorthwest from Proposal PeakOwens Peak at dawn from...The SW Ridge of Owen\'s Peak...Summit view on a windy day -...Icy slabs about 2/3 of the...Owens Peak from Indian Wells...
The view north from the...Morris Peak, Jenkins, Five...Looking east from the summit...Owens Peak from South Fork FlatTypical scrambling along the...Owens summit view north Jan 2015Matthew at the start of the...
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