California National Forest Highpoints

California National Forest Highpoints

Page Type: List
Dunderberg  Peak from South PeakDunderberg Peak

This list identifies the highest point in each of California's national forests.

[1] For the purposes of this list Shasta National Forest and Trinity National Forest are shown as seperate units, although they were officially combined in 1954 to become Shasta-Trinity National Forest. It really is worth an extra stop to visit Thompson Peak, the Trinity National Forest highpoint and also the highest peak in the Trinity Alps. It is also just a very short distance from nearby Caesar Peak, the Klamath National Forest highpoint.

[2] The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, which was established in 1973 is part of the National Forest System and therefore included on the list along with the more typical national forests. It was created out of existing areas of Tahoe, El Dorado, and Toiyabe National Forests and resulted in Round Top becoming the new highpoint of El Dorado National Forest and Freel Peak shifting to the new management unit. According to the websites of the divisions involved, the management unit is clearly a separate entity from the individual national forests despite the ambiguous nature by which the forest lands are identified on most topographic maps.

[3] Toiyabe National Forest is also included on this list, though the forest lies primarily in Nevada and is part of the Intermountain Region of the National Forest Service (California forests are in the Pacific Southwest Region). A portion of Toiyobe National Forest stretches into California northeast of Yosemite, however, and this happens to be the location of the highpoint, Dunderberg Peak.

The peaks range from drive-ups (Mount Ingalls if you have the correct vehicle) to class 4 climbs (Mount Humphreys) via their easiest routes, and most are class 2. Though summer is the typical season, almost all of the peaks are superb winter destinations. Florence Peak and Leavitt Peak would probably be the most involved and least frequently visited in winter due to very lengthy approaches, along with Mount Humphreys due to the additional technical challenges. Winter may be the optimal time to visit Laguna Peak West, as snow covers much of the otherwise horrid bushwacking involved (there may be a route up that avoids bushwacking, but on my December visit I did not see it). Bonus... being in national forests, none of the peaks have any private property or other access issues! Well, there is the Mount Whitney lottery to deal with...

National ForestPeakElevationMean
Angeles NFMount San Antonio 10,0646,224Los Angeles 34.28922-117.64616Mount San Antonio
Cleveland NFLaguna Peak West6,299279San Diego 32.84358-116.41436Mount Laguna
El Dorado NF [2]Round Top10,3812,561Alpine38.66359-120.00097Caples Lake
Inyo NFMount Whitney14,49510,075Tulare, Inyo36.57844-118.29232Mount Whitney
Klamath NFCaesar Peak8,920560Siskiyou, Trinity41.00400-123.03701Thompson Peak
Lake Tahoe Basin MU [2]Freel Peak10,8813,146Alpine, El Dorado38.85759-119.90022Freel Peak
Lassen NFCrater Peak 8,6832,923Shasta 40.69804-121.61897Thousand Lakes Valley
Los Padres NFMount PiƱos 8,8314,800Ventura 34.81253-119.14523Sawmill Mountain
Mendocino NFSouth Yolla Bolly (Mount Linn)8,0944,814Tehama 40.03641-122.85434South Yolla Bolly Mountains
Modoc NFEagle Peak9,8924,352Modoc 41.28348-120.20065Eagle Peak
Plumas NFMount Ingalls 8,3722,792Plumas 39.99410-120.62739Mount Ingalls
San Bernardino NFSan Gorgonio Mountain 11,5028,282San Bernardino 34.09915-116.82486San Gorgonio Mountain
Sequoia NFFlorence Peak12,4321,033Tulare36.40608-118.55086Mineral King
Shasta NFMount Shasta14,1629,762Siskiyou 41.40891-122.19483Mount Shasta
Sierra NFMount Humphreys13,9862,563Fresno, Inyo37.27055-118.67296Mount Tom
Six Rivers NFSalmon Mountain 6,9561,996Humboldt, Siskiyou 41.18318-123.41069Salmon Mountain
Stanislaus NFLeavitt Peak11,5692,049Mono, Tuolumne38.28615-119.65122Sonora Pass
Tahoe NFMount Lola9,1482,068Nevada39.43293-120.36503Independence Lake
Toiyabe NF [3]Dunderberg Peak12,3741,334Mono38.06455-119.27438Dunderberg Peak
Trinity NF [1]Thompson Peak 8,9943,914Trinity 41.00047-123.04825Thompson Peak

[1] Note that in 1954 Trinity National Forest was combined with Shasta National Forest to become Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Thompson Peak is no longer a true national forest highpoint.