High Sierra at sunrise from Inyo crest
Pleasant Point (alias Pleasant Mountain) is the northern most of a group of peaks accessed from the Cerro Gordo Mine
area towards the south end of the Inyo Mountains
. Cerro Gordo, also known as "Fat Hill", was a very successful silver mine with a colorful history. The old town site rests at 8,200' near the crest of the Inyos with the remains of the 19th century mining operation still in evidence a few hundred feet up the slope.
Fortunately for peak baggers the road which climbs almost 5,000' from the Owens Lake to Cerro Gordo makes this moderate day hike a pleasurable jaunt along the top on the range with outstanding views on all sides.
To the west, above Owens Valley is the monumental eastern scarp of the High Sierra stretching the length of the horizon. To the north the higher Inyo peaks stand out along the spine of the range. The eastern view takes in Saline Valley and the northern ranges of Death Valley National Park
. To the southeast the Panamint Range
is topped by Telescope Peak
and southwest lies the vast expanse of the Owens Lake area with massive Olancha Peak
dominant on the edge of the Southern Sierra
Saline Valley, Last Chance and Cottonwood Mtns., east from Inyo crest
From the junction with Hwy. 395 2 miles south of Lone Pine take Hwy. 136 12.6 miles southeast to Keeler. Just past Keeler a signed dirt road goes east and climbs 7.5 miles to the Cerro Gordo town site. The road gets steep but is well graded and should be passable to most 2 wheel drive vehicles. Just past the town is a saddle at 8,200'.
Park at the saddle and walk north up the road that goes to the left around the western side of the crest 1.5 to another saddle where the road continues winding south up to radio facilities. Leave the road here and hike north along the crest .75 miles to the south summit, drop down a bit on a rugged use trail and traverse along the west side of the south summit .4 miles and up to the main summit. Judging from the register some people have been fooled by the south peak since the main summit is hidden from view at that point, me included the first time I hiked it.
Cerro Gordo Road
This is Bureau of Land Management territory and requires no permits but the Cerro Gordo area is largely private property and has a few residents. Please heed all no trespassing signs.
Owens Lake and Olancha Peak from Inyo crest
You are pretty much on your own out in these parts folks! This is 'The Land of Little Rain'
. But there are endless places to pull off the road and camp. I van camped at the saddle beyond the town site last time I did the hike and was up for a beautiful pre-dawn start.
The nearest campgrounds I could find were Tuttle Creek Campground and the Lone Pine Campground in the Alabama Hills west of Lone Pine.
Tuttle Creek Campground
: From Hwy. 395 in Lone Pine go west on the Whitney Portal Road 3.2 miles.Turn south and go 1.7 south on Horseshoe Meadows Road. Turn right (west) and go .9 miles to the Tuttle Creek Campground area.
Lone Pine Campground
: Go 6.5 miles west on the Whitney Portal road from 395 in Lone Pine. Take a short left .35 miles then a right .5 miles to the campground.
Current weather conditions
Sierra crest pano from Pleasant Point Saline Valley from Pleasant Point
Current weather for Keeler click here
Further reading on hiking desert peaksDesert Summits
, by Andy Zdon. This is the
book on desert peak bagging for California and Southern Nevada.