This list identifies the highest point in each of California's national forests.
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.
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.
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...
|Angeles NF||Mount San Antonio ||10,064||6,224||Los Angeles ||34.28922||-117.64616||Mount San Antonio |
|Cleveland NF||Laguna Peak West||6,299||279||San Diego ||32.84358||-116.41436||Mount Laguna|
|El Dorado NF ||Round Top||10,381||2,561||Alpine||38.66359||-120.00097||Caples Lake|
|Inyo NF||Mount Whitney||14,495||10,075||Tulare, Inyo||36.57844||-118.29232||Mount Whitney|
|Klamath NF||Caesar Peak||8,920||560||Siskiyou, Trinity||41.00400||-123.03701||Thompson Peak |
|Lake Tahoe Basin MU ||Freel Peak||10,881||3,146||Alpine, El Dorado||38.85759||-119.90022||Freel Peak|
|Lassen NF||Crater Peak ||8,683||2,923||Shasta ||40.69804||-121.61897||Thousand Lakes Valley|
|Los Padres NF||Mount Piños ||8,831||4,800||Ventura ||34.81253||-119.14523||Sawmill Mountain|
|Mendocino NF||South Yolla Bolly (Mount Linn)||8,094||4,814||Tehama ||40.03641||-122.85434||South Yolla Bolly Mountains|
|Modoc NF||Eagle Peak||9,892||4,352||Modoc ||41.28348||-120.20065||Eagle Peak|
|Plumas NF||Mount Ingalls ||8,372||2,792||Plumas ||39.99410||-120.62739||Mount Ingalls |
|San Bernardino NF||San Gorgonio Mountain ||11,502||8,282||San Bernardino ||34.09915||-116.82486||San Gorgonio Mountain |
|Sequoia NF||Florence Peak||12,432||1,033||Tulare||36.40608||-118.55086||Mineral King|
|Shasta NF||Mount Shasta||14,162||9,762||Siskiyou ||41.40891||-122.19483||Mount Shasta|
|Sierra NF||Mount Humphreys||13,986||2,563||Fresno, Inyo||37.27055||-118.67296||Mount Tom|
|Six Rivers NF||Salmon Mountain ||6,956||1,996||Humboldt, Siskiyou ||41.18318||-123.41069||Salmon Mountain |
|Stanislaus NF||Leavitt Peak||11,569||2,049||Mono, Tuolumne||38.28615||-119.65122||Sonora Pass|
|Tahoe NF||Mount Lola||9,148||2,068||Nevada||39.43293||-120.36503||Independence Lake|
|Toiyabe NF ||Dunderberg Peak||12,374||1,334||Mono||38.06455||-119.27438||Dunderberg Peak|
|Trinity NF ||Thompson Peak ||8,994||3,914||Trinity ||41.00047||-123.04825||Thompson Peak |
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.