Mt. Pinos is for those hikers looking for the great outdoors. The Forest Route 9N24 which leads to the Condor Observation Site, has great views of the surrounding mountains and of course it is good for watching Condor’s. Route 9N24 is an easy hike with an average slop of 6.9% and is only a distance of 1.78 miles. Mt. Pinos elevation is 8800ft. so bring your coat even in June there is snow on the ground. The scenery is full of large pine trees, squirrels searching for food, and an occasional deer. Once you get to the observation site take the Vincent Tumamait Trail to Camp Sheep.
This hiking trail is a bit more difficult with an average slope of 10.2% and max slope of 40.5%. Half of the trail is downhill. You will drop from 8800ft. to 8368ft. and start climbing again to 8765ft. The trail ends at a split you can either go to Camp Sheep that is only another half mile (nice place for lunch before heading back.) or if you feel you have the energy to take on more hills, then take the Mt Pinos Trail to Forest Route N925. Once you get to Forest Route N925, go right and trek another half mile following the road to checkout the abandoned Chalet before hiking back.
The Mt. Pinos Trails is a bit harder than the Vincent Tumamait Trail with an average slope of 13.4% and max of 46.9% again going down hill half of the way before rising again. This can be a difficult Trail for the sea-level hiker because of the altitude, but if you want to experience being the only one on the trail this one is for you. But remember, leave enough strength to get back out. Also remember to give yourself plenty of time to get back before the sun sets. Mt. Pinos gets very cold after the sunset, you don’t want to get stuck out there without proper clothing and supplies. Make sure to check to see if the roads are open by calling the Mt. Pinos Ranger at (661) 245-3731. You need a Nation Forest Adventure Pass for this area. Sports Chalet and REI sell the $5.00 daily pass or the $30.00 Annual pass.
Mt. Pinos is sacred land for the Chumash Indians. The Chumash call this land Iwihinmu, and considered it to be the center of the universe. Chumash territory covered 7,000 square miles stretching from Monterey in the North, Malibu in the south and Kern County in the east. At a height of 8831’ Mt. Pinos is the highest peak in Los Padres National Forest. The Peak has unbelievable views in three directions. With the passing of the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act of 1992, Condor watching became another popular activity. Because of Mt Pinos low light pollution, dry air and frequently clear skies, it is also popular site for amateur astronomers using the Chula Vista parking lot. With an average snowfall of 3ft.-6ft. Mt. Pinos Is also a popular winter recreational area for cross country skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and snow camping.