OverviewTobias Peak, located in Sequoia National Forest & Giant Sequoia National Monument, is the site of a fire lookout tower that is manned in the summertime (June through October, weather permitting). The panoramic view from Tobias Peak includes Mt. Whitney and the Golden Trout Wilderness, the Great Western Divide made up beautiful Moses Mountain, Maggie Mountain, Slate Mountain, Dome Rock, and The Needles; the western face of the Kern Plateau, Kern River Valley in the South Lake Isabella area as well as Kelso Valley; North Cold Springs ridge where giant sequoias are visible, as well as Deer Creek Grove; Pine Flat and Hot Springs area out to the great San Joaquin basin and on to the coastal foothills; and close by, Posey by beautiful Linn’s Valley.
Tobias Peak was named in 1884 by John and Tobe Minter who named it for their father Tobias Minter who homesteaded near the peak.
Click here to find links to 4 webcams pointed in different directions from Tobias Peak.
Getting ThereTo get to the top the easy way involves a long drive and a short walk. There are quite a few different road routes that you might take, depending on your point of origin, to get to Tobias Peak. In all instances you would be on Forest Service Road 23S16, and then taking 24S50 (towards Frog Meadow), or 24S24. Your origination could be from California Hot Springs, Posey, Thompson Camp, Johnsondale, or even Greenhorn Summit. It is recommended you purchase a Sequoia National Forest map before you go!
The trail to the lookout from the end of the road is very short. Almost anyone can do it! There is perhaps 50' to climb on a dirt and rock pathway to get from the end of the road to the top of the peak.
Alternately, one can do a longer hike to the peak from the Deer Creek Grove near CA Hot Springs on Trail 31E56 or from the Sugarloaf area on 31E57. Both of these trails tie into road 24S50.
Mountain biking is allowed on the trails and roads and this would be a great way to get to Tobias Peak.
Link to Sequoia National Forest Map based on USGS Tobias Peak Quad
Red TapeNo permits or fees to hike to Tobias Peak. Please practice Leave No Trace ethics when you visit this area. Be sure and carry water with you as no water is available along the way or at the lookout.
Upon reaching the lookout, a gate with a sign may be posted that will inform you if the lookout is open for public visitation. A Forest Service employee resides at the Tobias Peak Lookout tower. It is utilized as an office as well as the home for the summer months while the lookout is on duty. This person is responsible for detecting fires and relaying radio messages to a dispatcher, who in turn sends firefighters and support equipment to extinguish the reported fire. The employee is usually on duty from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday through Wednesday, but may have the lookout closed due to fires or repair work. If the gate is open, you are welcome to visit the lookout, talk with the Forest Service employee, and enjoy the view, which is spectacular.
No more than 4 – 5 people are recommended on the lookout at a time, as there is very little space. Please sign the daily log so we know you have been there. The lookout has just a couple of simple rules for safety; please do not sit on the catwalk railing or lean against any part of the building, particularly the windows or smudge them. The lookout needs a clean, unobstructed view at all times. The windows are very fragile and break easily.
CampingNearby Frog Meadow and Panorama Campgrounds are both free and have vault toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings. There is no water nor is there a fee. You will need a CA Campfire Permit which is available free of charge from any Forest Service, BLM, or CA Department of Forestry office.
There is also a cabin available for rent at Frog Meadow. Click here for more info!
External LinksSequoia National Forest & Giant Sequoia National Monument
Lookouts of the Sequoia National Forest
Buck Rock Foundation
A trip report to Tobias Peak and other nearby areas
Weather Forecast for the Tulare County Mountains
Weather Forecast for the Kern County Mountains
Link to Sequoia National Forest webcams, 4 of which are mounted on Tobias Peak.
More info...Tobias Peak is a great area to study and watch the raptors in flight, which on any given day includes Goshawks, Golden Eagles, Red Tail Hawks, Sparrow Hawks, Turkey Vultures and maybe just possibly a condor. Sunset is awesome much of the time, and although the Tobias Lookout closes to guests at 5 p.m., you are welcome to watch the sunset from the lookout catwalk or surrounding rock base. Morning hours are the best times to view the valley on the western side. Bring your lunch with you... a picnic table is located on a level surface just a few feet away from the lookout, and is for your use and enjoyment. Of course, be sure and take all your scraps, cans and trash with you when you leave.
Tobias is still very old fashioned in many ways with history to be told and many recognizable pioneer names on the list of lookout personnel. Great stories are exchanged here...
Tobias was built as a working fire tower in 1935, by the Civilian Conservation Corps. All materials and equipment used were packed in by Mule Train. Tobias still operates with all the original fixtures. It was first manned by “Harold” from June 1 to October 18, 1936.
Most Forest Service roads are closed by Nov. 15 and reopened late May or early June, depending on weather.
For more information, please contact:
Sequoia National Forest
Giant Sequoia National Monument
Tule River and Hot Springs Ranger Districts
32588 Hwy 190
Springville, CA 93265