Arnot Peak is located within the Carson Iceberg Wilderness area in the Stanislaus National Forest. It lies directly on the Sierra crest with the eastern watersheds flowing to the West Walker River via Wolf Creek and the western watersheds emptying into the Clark Fork of the Stanislaus River via Disaster Creek. The summit register suggests that the peak is climbed regularly by a dozen or more parties per year. Adorning the summit rocks is a memorial plaque to the peak’s namesake, Nathaniel D. Arnot (see etymology below). Views from the summit are grand, encompassing nearby peak such as Highland
and Silver Peaks to the north, Disaster
to the south, Hiram
Peaks to the west. More distant, various peaks of the Sonora Pass
area are visible including Leavitt, Sonora
Peaks as well as Dardanelles Cone.
View to the north from the summit
View to the west from the summit
View to the south from the summit
The terrain surrounding the peak is typical high alpine forest. Watercourses have been carved deeply overtime owning to the easily eroded volcanic nature of the soils. The summit block and surrounding ridges are primarily volcanic in nature. Indeed the area has several interesting (but small) cinder cone peaks as evidence of its volcanic origins. The north and eastern aspects of the peak are dominated by large and forbidding cliffs. The rock quality is likely to be very loose and hence poor for climbing.
Eastern aspects of the peak are dominated by steep cliffs.
The peak is usually approached from the Highland Lakes area via the Upper Gardiner Meadows trailhead. Alternatively, one can climb (usually in conjunction with Disaster Peak) the peak beginning from the Iceberg Meadows area at the end of the Clark Fork Road off of Hwy 108. By either route the peak would be considered a class 2 climb with perhaps a few sections of class 3 for those willing to look for it.
||Total Elevation Gain
| Upper Gardner Meadow
|| Class 2/3|| Disaster Creek Trailhead
Getting ThereAs noted in the above table, there are at least two routes to reach the peak by; one from Ebbetts Pass (Hwy 4) and the other from Sonora Pass (Hwy 108).
The most accessible route begins at the Upper Gardner Meadows trailhead near Highland Lakes. To reach the trailhead travel approximately 17 miles east of Bear Valley on Hwy 4 to the Highland Lakes Road (FS 8N01). Proceed 5.5 miles to the trailhead. The last 3-4 miles of the road are unpaved but in good condition and passable by passenger cars.
Depart the Upper Gardner Meadows trailhead and proceed about 2 miles to the Pacific Crest Trail, passing through Lower Gardner Meadows on the way. Note that in the early season the trail will be very wet and muddy in this section.
Lower Gardner Meadows
Continue south on the PCT for another mile or so, then, prior to crossing Wolf Creek, head cross country to the south following along the west side of the creek, up the ridge.
Wolf Creek Approach
The second route begins from the Disaster Creek trailhead at the end of the Clark Fork Road. From Sonora travel on Hwy 108 east about 45 miles to the road and turn left (north). Proceed 8.4 miles to the trailhead.
Follow the Disaster Creek trail for approximately 2.75 miles until the junction to the Paradise Valley trail. Head east into the valley. Follow this trail for another 1.25-1.50 miles or until you are comfortable heading cross county up the southern slopes of the peak.
Arnot Peak and the Pacific Valley from Disaster Peak.
Red TapeArnot Peak lies within the Carson Iceberg Wilderness Area. Permits are not required for day hiking, but they are for overnight visits. Permits can be obtained at the following Ranger District offices.
Calaveras Ranger District
P.O. Box 500
Hathaway Pines, CA 95233
FAX (209) 795-6849
TDD (209) 795-2854
Stanislaus National Forest
19777 Greenley Road
Sonora, CA 95370
FAX (209) 533-1890
TDD (209) 533-0765
More information can be found at the forest service website.