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Hildreth from Hot Spring

December 3, 2011

By: Peter & Ignacia Doggett

On Saturday, December 3rd, 2011 the Doggetts led a group of 7 sturdy HPS hikers to Hildreth Peak from the Agua Caliente Hot Springs.

Even though this route is listed as Route #1 in the HPS Peak Guides, very few hikers use this route. The drive from the 101 hwy in Santa Barbara to our trailhead took almost 2 hours.

We started walking at 9:40am and reached the summit at 2:22pm. After a very short break on the top, we started back at 2:30pm and reached the trailhead at 6:40pm.

The hike was about 8.5 miles (each way). The total gain was around 5,200' and except for a mile of steep ridge, most of the route had modest inclines.

The entire hike took 9 hours and for the last hour we used our headlamps. On this night we had about a 60% full moon, but our headlamps proved to be very helpful in finding the trail.

On the first four miles of the hike we had to cross the Agua Caliente Creek about 10 times. These crossings presented us with little difficulty in the morning. We hiked at a slower pace during our last hour (which was dark). We found that crossing the stream in the dark took more time; and in a couple of spots, it was more difficult to find the trail exiting the stream bed.

Some of the hiking trail and the jeep trail was overgrown with waist-high dried grasses and sharp thistle bushes. This part of the hike was rather unpleasant.

But the views of the surrounding hillsides were amazing. Although this hike is strenuous, requires good route finding skills & not for beginners; it is a wonderful hike.

We would like to thank: John Cederberg, Larry Campbell, Christine Soskins, Mary Varalyay & Mark Butski for joining our outing. - - Peter & Ignacia Doggett

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