As of May 30, 2016, the trail that leads up to Baker Point Lookout on the Western Divide Ranger District of the Sequoia National Forest is accessible to the public again. We cleared the trail of brush and logs that were blocking the trail making it treacherous. This trail is not stock passable at this time due to some large boulders blocking the trail and the road to access the trailhead Forest Service Road 24S02 will not accommodate a truck and trailer at this time due to some very large berms. The goal is to eventually have the trail boulder free and stock passable but that will require at least two professional trail crews to work two weeks repairing the trail. The funding is just not there at this time. The reason we cleared this trail is so this lookout can be restored & preserved and eventually rented out by the Forest Service to the public.
Below is a map of the trail:
The views from the trail head of the Kern River Valley are simply spectacular. The trail is not long at all, it is less than a mile in length and there is a decent amount of elevation gain for such a short trail. The trail takes off out of the parking lot in a south easterly direction and winds up the side of a cliff to the Lookout. There are some sections that need to be improved (widened), but it is passable. Take some time to stop along the way and appreciate the views of the Great Western Divide Mountain Range in the distance.
Once you reach the top the views of the Kern River Valley are magnificent. There are three structures on the top of this large rock outcropping. The Lookout, an old cabin with a neat wood stove and an outhouse. The Lookout Association is in the process of restoring all the buildings. If you want to help in restoring the lookout please let us know. I think their first order of business is to scrape off all the old paint.
Sunset Magazine recently published an article on 14 stunning fire tower vacation rentals. Hopefully, they will be able to add Baker Point Lookout to this list when the restoration has been completed. Going forward both Wilderness Corps and United Trail Maintainers of California will be responsible for keeping the trail open.
Directions to this California treasure:
From the Kern River Valley, drive up Hwy 155 from Wofford Heights. At Greenhorn Summit, go right on 24S15/Portuguese Pass Rd and follow to Portuguese Pass. At the pavement, turn right 23S18 (the west side is labeled 23S16). Stay on this road as it eventually descends past Tyler Meadow. At a 4-intersection, turn right on the dirt road, 24S02. Stay on this main dirt road, ignoring all offshoots, as it climbs a few miles to a large circular dirt parking area at the end. The trail is signed 32E37 and starts in sagebrush on the backside of the parking area.
From Johnsondale, drive west on M-50 a few miles, and turn right on 23S16, a paved forest road. Take this road about 20 miles until you reach the 4-way intersection with 24S02. Turn left and follow the above directions.
From Sugarloaf, drive up the paved road, 23S16, to Portuguese Pass and continue on (the road becomes 23S18). Turn right on 24S02 and follow the directions above.
NOTE: The turnoff is unmarked. There is no sign that says Baker Point Lookout, despite popular belief.
Some other Lookouts to explore
We encourage everyone to get out and go visit these treasures which are all located on Public Land. Users can Hike or Mountain Bike or Horseback to all the local lookouts and the surrounding areas, we have included a short list.
- Buck Rock Lookout
- Jordan Peak Lookout – Jordan Peak is situated in the Sequoia National Forest/Giant Sequoia National Monument just to the north of Camp Nelson. This Lookout is one of 8 manned fire lookouts on the Forest. The hike to the top of the peak from the closest trailhead is short (less than a mile) and at times steep but the view from the top is outstanding!
- Baker Point Lookout
- Delilah Lookout
- Park Ridge Lookout
- Cahoon Rock
- Bald Mountain
- Mule Peak Lookout – Sequoia National Forest/Giant Sequoia National Monument and is the site of a manned fire lookout. It is along the Great Western Divide and overlooks the Tule River Indian Reservation to the west and provides superb views towards the north including Moses Moutain, Maggie Mountain, and Slate Mountain. Looking northeast you can just spot Olancha Peak. Towards the east, you see the Kern River Canyon and southward you see Baker Point and Tobias Peak.
- Ash Peak
- Oak Flat