Portuguese Peak is one of many densely tree-clad peaks on the Greenhorn Summit in the Kern River Valley. Portuguese Peak has the same trailhead as Sunday Peak so I usually do both of them together. In fact, the trail to Sunday Peak crosses the saddle between Portuguese Peak and Sunday Peak. You will know that you are on the saddle (1 mile from the trailhead) because there is wide flat area under the trees after a climb on the maintained Sunday Peak Trail. On the map this is the location where it says "Water Gap Spring" though I have never located the spring.
The trick here is to turn right (North) if you are climbing up the trail, and left (North) if you are coming down. There is no trail to Portuguese Peak so this is a cross-country experience among densely packed trees so you should definitely have a compass or a GPS because you will not be able to see your destination. The saddle runs North-South, and you want to be absolutely sure that you are on the West side of the saddle. After turning off the trail I would head a little Northwest for awhile just to be sure. If you should happen to go too far East then your nice happy short hike to the peak will end up as a gigantic manzanita/chinquapin bushwhacking & rock climbing episode. So, that being said, stay a little left (West)of the ridge and if things start getting messy then hook left and up the mountain.
You will have a clear route to the peak. Once you get there you will see lots of rocks. It is a simple climb to the top of them and then you rock-hop four or five times East through the manzanita grove to the summit boulder. Round-trip from the trail is 1/2 mile with an elevation gain of 500 feet. You probably won't write home that you did this one, but it has some cool cross-country navigation, and it works out pretty nicely to do Portuguese Peak and Sunday Peak together.
Getting ThereFrom Wofford Heights take SR 155, 7.7 miles to Greenhorn Summit. From here it's 6.6 miles to the Sunday Peak Trailhead along a dirt road. The parking area has a sign that says Sunday Peak.
~I-5 North to Bakersfield, exit 178 east. Go to Lake Isabella and exit on SR155, follow signs to Wofford Heights.
~From Ridgecrest, Hwy 14 to 178 west, follow signs to Kernville, then go west on 155 to Wofford Heights.
~From 99 southbound, take 155 east to Greenhorn Summit, turn left on 24S15.
~It is also possible to take Rancheria Road from Highway 178 in Rio Bravo near Bakersfield though it is a dirt road for much of the way.
View Larger Map
Red TapeThis is not a wilderness area, so permits are not required.
Greenhorn Ranger District
4875 Ponderosa Drive
P.O. Box 3810
Lake Isabella, CA 93240
Tule River Ranger District
32588 Highway 190
Springville, CA 93265
CampingEvans Flat, Alder Creek, Frog Meadow, Panorama, Rancheria Rd. & Cedar Creek.
Camping & other lodging is also available in nearby Lake Isabella, Kernville, and Wofford Heights.
External LinksWeather from the National Weather Service
Lake Isabella Online