Peak 10401 is a rocky knob in the Hoover Wilderness along the Sawmill Ridge near Eagle Peak 11,845'. If doing a long all day hike, it can be climbed after Eagle Peak, or can be climbed should you choose to camp high up in the Hoover Wilderness, and want to bag the peaks accessible along the trail along the Eagle Creek. It is the southern Neighbor of Robinson Peak 10,793’. The summit is listed on topographic maps at Peak 10,401, although Google Earth™ indicates it is even higher - around 10,450'. If it was only 10,401', it would have a prominence of about 212'.
The mountain is an excellent destination if you want an early season trek into the Sierras. Eagle Peak may have too much snow by the start of summer, but Peak 10401 can be typically accessed during this time.
Reaching the summit of Peak 10401 can be done via a day hike from the Buckeye Trailhead at the Buckeye Campground at about 7220’ or via the eastern most Twin Lake, from Twin Lakes Road, at about 7,130'. Views from the summit area are incredible. With views towards northern Yosemite and the Sawtooth Ridge.
View of Matterhorn Peak and the Sawtooth Ridge from the summit.
West face of Peak 10401
Twin Lakes Road route
Take Twin Lakes Road from Bridgeport for about 10 miles. Before you see the first of the Twin Lakes, there is a sign for an RV park at the Twin Lakes Resort. Park at the north end of the circle beyond the buildings.
The trailhead for the longer hike starts at the Buckeye Campground, which can be accessed from Twin Lakes Road in Bridgeport off of 395. Follow Twin Lakes Road for several miles and watch for the signs for Doc 'N' Al's resort. At the turn of there is sign heading to Buckeye Campground. The road soon turns into dirt, but can easily be driven by a 2WD. Most of the dirt section gets a "1" rating, although your car may shake at points.
Just before the campground is a concrete bridge, on the left. Cross this and drive through the campground. If you wish to camp, head to campground site #60 and see the camp host or simply find a camp site with open space, and fill out a form for that campsite and pay. If only doing a day hike, park at the Buckeye Trailhead towards the back of the campground.
Twin Lakes Road route
The shorter route starts at about 7,130'. There is an obvious road heading up in between two ridges leading up to the Sawmill Ridge. The road starts just to the west and continues up between the two south facing ridges. There are two options. Either continue up the road until it becomes a trail, or scramble up to the ridge on the right. The trail winds up the left side, reaching the top of the ridge in probably about 2 1/2 miles, and Peak 10,401 is a little over a mile away, past Sawmill Ridge Peak 10,325'.
If scrambling up the ridge on the right, you will encounter brush, which can be thick. However, there are sufficient animal trails to wind through it and up to the steep ridge, which is pretty straightforward. In about 2 1/4 miles, you reach the top of the ridge from the trailhead after gaining about 3,000'. Peak 10,401 is a little over 1 1/4 miles away.
South face of Peak 10401. The final stretch to the summit via these routes
Either route is about 7 miles round trip, with over 3,500' of elevation gain one way to the summit.
The longer route to Peak 10401 is via the Eagle Creek Trail. From the trailhead walk straight up the road and walk through a gate at the end of the campground. After another few hundred feet is a second gate. Walk through this gate and a couple hundred yards later is a sign on the left to Eagle Creek. Take this trail as it heads east, but soon curves back around to the west. The trail is basically an old road which continues through the forest on the right side of the creek. After about 1½ miles from the trail sign you reach the end of the road. There is a trail marker pointing to the right.
The trail continues west along the Eagle Creek and eventually the higher mountains come into view. Initially Peak 10401 comes into view.
Looking up at Eagle Peak 11,845'along the trail
The trail continues up moderately steep as it climbs between the Sawmill Ridge to the south and the Buckeye Ridge to the north. After about 5 miles up the trail, it starts to peter out somewhat and becomes harder to follow. At this point, however, the route it pretty open, and easy to tell which direction to go. Once the trail becomes clear again, you will see a connecting ridge on your left heading to Peak 10401 and the Eagle Creek on your left.
Continue up the trail, and look down at the Eagle Creek for a good place to cross before you reach the connecting ridge to Peak 10401. Take a left off the trail and cross the Eagle Creek. There are numerous crossing points before you reach the connecting ridge.
Head up the forest where you will find open woods all the way to the base of the summit block. Once at the summit block, you must head up over 450 feet of large, and sometimes loose, flat rocks to the top. You can walk up most of this, but some of the final stretch is considered class 2.
The total hiking distance from the Buckeye Trailhead is about 12 miles round trip. The elevation gain is about 3200 feet.
There is no red tape to deal with and no permits required for either route. There is a fee should you choose to camp at the Buckeye Campground. However, there is also a trailhead nearby the end of the road that a person can park during the day and hike. If planning to do a longer hike in the area, it is recommended you camp at Buckeye Campground. There are 67 camp sites to choose from with space for three or four cars each.