MOUNT ABEL, California
So many misspell Abel like Able, its a wonder anyone can find this place.
But what a nice find it is! Camp O Alto Campground, among the giant trees. RV friendly
Cerro Noroeste / Mt Abel / Noroeste Peak
Los Padres mountains, camping on the back roads, mountain biking, hiking, exploring. This gorgeous 8286′ mountain peak sits just to the west of Mount Pinos @ 8831′ (the tallest peak in Kern County). Home of the Jesus Tree, the best sunset spot for miles and the infamous motorcycle road out west, this mountain is one of the lesser known in Southern California. Oddly shaped, Jefferey and Ponderosa pines towering above have their tops stunted and enormous branches hanging down. Maybe from lightning strikes, or maybe from a historic Tejon earthquake that snapped them?
Camp-O-Alto is the official name of this primitive open, FREE campground. First come basis. This place is a perfect option B, instead of the busier Mt Pinos Recreation Area that is located to the east. RV campers love this camp, as there is plenty of room to spread out in between the sites. There is also a large group site at the west end of the campground – available to whomever can grab it first, but you must have a large group to utilize this spot.
Just south of Apache Saddle, there is a faded, large sign that reads Westside Park, but this is the only reference we can find and no one locally calls this mountain by this name. The Cerro Noreste Road gate (near Camp Condor), closes seasonally for winter snow and rock slides.
Once you are past this gate & start climbing from the saddle, there is a great viewpoint a few miles up on the right side, overlooking red dirt beauty of Quatal Canyon. You can see the mountains out near the coast, as well as the high desert, natural wash on the left side and the faint graded dirt road paralleling it to the right side, all mixed up amongst the pinyons & junipers. The Chumash Wilderness is on the left side.
DIRECTIONS TO MOUNT ABEL:
To get here from Interstate 5, exit Frazier & head west, thru Frazier Park, thru Cuddy Valley, turn right on Mil Potrero Hwy (forest road #9N05) & past the golfing community of Pine Mountain Club; continue west to Apache Saddle. At this intersection, turn left on to Cerro Noroeste (#9N25) & drive 10 miles to the top of the mountain.
To get here from Hwy 166, take the Cerro Noroeste Road turn off just east of Hwy 33. Continue 20-something miles up to Apache Saddle ranger station. At this intersection, turn right on to Cerro Noroeste (#9N25) & drive 10 miles to the top of the mountain.
Los Padres Trail # 21W03 / Chumash Wilderness
Hiking Trails / Mountain Bike SoCal
This area is very popular among mountain bikers and sunset seeking couples. The “Peak to Peak” hike is an all day adventure of 6.5 miles, that should be planned well in advance – with another shuttle car at the Pinos parking lot. This is a moderately, strenuous hike that can take up most of the day – with awesome views over the San Joaquin Valley, Lockwood Valley, Pine Mountain Village and San Emigdio range. The area located in between Pinos & Abel is called the Chumash Wilderness.