I had planned to be in the area some time ago, though COVID-19 dramatically cut my trip short. Thus Mt. Stakes was the only summit I hit on this trip. I had started the day planning to get to Discovery and Challenger. The night prior I'd read that campgrounds and facilities were closed in regional parks, but that trails and such were still open. However when I attempted to drive in to Del Valle Regional Park in the morning, I was met with a sign and a ranger, both informing me that sometime between midnight and the morning the decision was made to close all the parks entirely. I later learned that this was due to some confusion and I should have been allowed to drive to the "trailhead" for Discovery & Challenger.
At the time, however, with no signal and only a sense of nearby summits as alternatives, I hauled off to Mt. Stakes for what was at this point Plan E. I knew of the different approach to Discovery and Challenger but had not done any research on it, and I knew I was getting too late a start for that longer route.
A minivan was parked at the usual starting point. I thought I may have company out there until I saw a big sticker on the back window from the county indicating it had been parked there for well over a week.
As it was I had it all to myself, minus the cattle. It was 3.5 miles of flat walking to the boundary of the ecological preserve, where a worn-down gate indicates you are about to enter private property, the sheriff will make arrests, blah blah blah. The gate barely exists at this point and the lock was itself unlocked and the chain down.
From this point the road steepens considerably. At 2900' I came upon a parked bulldozer. At the summit I found the benchmark and a small cairn, though no register.
The entirety of this is a nondescript and easy road walk -- it is certainly bikeable, even with a hybrid if you have no mountain bike. The resilient green grass from winter rains provided perfect peace apart from the prevailing chaos.
Still, it was apparent it was time for me to head home and hunker down. This could be my last summit for a while, and there is no telling how long, so I am going to savor it.
From San Antonio Rd. Took wrong branch of road once, which led me to a long-abandoned homestead. After I found the actual right road, it was a cruise. Nice views of the Central Valley. No signs of any No Trespassing signs, & any gates were open.
Pretty cold out there last night. There was snow at the summit, but avoidable. Strangely, I didn't see a single no trespassing sign. I did not find a summit register.
Hiked in from the gate at San Antonio Road. I didn't see a single "No Tresapssing" sign at the gate or along the road, so I guess we were ok. Did this one as a night hike under a full moon but storm clouds obscured much of the light and views. The only wildlife we saw was a skunk, and way to close! Very fun though. Hiked with Erik.
Did it over the Coe Backcountry Weekend. Unfortunately it was a dry year and the hills were brown, and over 90 degrees. Had good company though. The ranchowners mid-way through the hike were nice enough give us a ride a couple miles to their property and let up pass through w/o using the trail detour on the way out.
I parked on the South side of the cattle guard which is approximately one hundred yards south of the gate which leads towards the Hunting Club Lands as well as Shanti Ashrama. There were native Tule Elk in the Valley when I arrived and wildflowers in full bloom so I picked a nice day. I started the hike around 12PM. I used the Mt. Stakes quad as my map and most of the fireroads exist as per the map. Use your intuition and you'll find your way. Heavy rain this year so a lot of stream crossings all the way to the point where the fireroads ascend into the chapparal slopes. I placed a summit register at Mt. Stakes in a cheap tupperware container and put underneath rocks near the USGS marker. Hope it survives a while. Also bagged Black Mtn, which is just .7 miles to the North. Tule Elk were seen again on my exit. No problem with my truck. Stats: 13 Miles, 2200 Feet elevation gain. Took about 4.25 hours. Once you leave the valley the chapparal slopes allow for increasingly expansive views as you ascend to the summit of Mt. Stakes. A highly enjoyable solo journey into a rough gem of the always appealing Diablo Range.
Summited at night, alone, in fear of being attacked by cows. Started to snow on the way down. No ranchers, no guns!
Long way to go, but amazing wildflowers were rewarding. We came through Coe State Park, which necessitates a 22 mile hike followed by a 12 mile walk-out. Phew!
I remember being half-scared because of the sounds of guns going off. Otherwise, this is probably the easiest route available.
Used a bike until the upper Red Creek (beginning of Mt Stakes trail) then hiked to the summit using "almost" legal route. Took 16 hrs total, 65 miles roundtrip. Going through Orestimba and Red Creek canyon is the most beautiful experience
Most difficult part of the hike was navigating through a massive herd of cows as the sun was setting. They were menacing in their numbers!
The trail is easy to follow, although marking all the listed junctions found on a Topo map (and putting them in a GPS unit) was quite useful. The top ridgeline is like a super-highway of jeep roads--what were they thinking? Whatever the case, the summit is pretty uninspiring, but the hike is quite nice, including the portion through the gun club lands (probably not nice if there are people actually using the land, though).
Went over to nearby Black Mountain (3/4 mile north on the Topo map), but was disappointed to discover there is no USGS marker there (confirmed later when I checked the USGS database). All in all, an unexpectedly enjoyable hike, with a big sigh of relief upon returning to see my car still intact.
Summited this peak with rgreene. It was a nice casual walk through the park. Beware, the jeep roads on the TOPO are not maintained with the state park. They're there if you look for them but very overgrown. Nice warm up hike to get some miles on the legs.
A pretty easy hike if you don't get hassled for being on private property. Trip Report
The dual ridges, bushwhacking, and length of the trip made it an adventure. High points were (several times) stumbling into a clearing while following a non-existant jeep road, and finding a nice "Mt. Stakes Trail" intersection marker for another non-existant trail.