Mount Bielewski • Highpoint: Santa Cruz County
• Santa Cruz Mountains

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Date: December 19, 2000 • Elevation: 3,231 feet • Prominence: 1,421 feet • Distance: 1.5 miles • Time: 45 minutes • Gain: 300 feet • Conditions: Pleasant

From Copernicus Peak, I crossed San Jose into the Santa Cruz Mountains. My route took me along state routes CA-17 to CA-9 through the town of Saratoga, then up the road to the main ridge of the hills and the junction with Skyline Drive (also known as CA-35).

My plan was to visit Long Ridge, the San Mateo County highpoint first, then backtrack south and visit this place, called Mount McPherson or Mount Bielewski, the highest point in Santa Cruz County. However, I was unable to visit the highpoint at Long Ridge due to unexpected fencing and a watch-dog. From there, I drove south to the Castle Rock State Park, which for me was a place to park my truck for this hike.

Mount McPherson is apparently off-limits for much of the year, being on private property. However, it is a Christmas tree farm, where people can go in and cut one down on their own, so access is opened for a few days and weekends prior to Christmas every year. This worked well for me since Christmas was a week away. From the parking lot at Castle Rock Park, I followed trails that went south, but those fed me back onto the highway, so I walked along the highway to the Mount McPherson access road, which was gated shut.

I hiked up this road and momentarily, I was at the Christmas tree farm. It was quiet and seemingly abandoned. There was a camper there but no one was in. Nobody was cutting down any trees. This being so close to Christmas, where was everyone? Maybe the watchman went away on errands.

This worked well for me so I could go about my activities without being hassled by anyone. The actual highpoint is past the farm in the forest, a flattish summit that required pacing to be sure I "got" it. I didn't linger, and I exited the way I came in and was back to my truck in less than an hour. It was not that memorable of a hike.

From here, I drove back down into the San Jose suburbs and then north up the main highways into San Francisco for my last highpoint of the day, San Francisco's Mount Davidson and its iconic 100-foot tall cross.

(c) 2000, 2016 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.