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Portuguese Pass is the most southern reach of the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The small communities of California Hot Springs, Poso, and Sugarloaf are all within or adjacent to Giant Sequoia National Monument. There are limited services in these communities and no gasoline, so if you head toward these beautiful but rural areas please go prepared!
Tobias Peak Fire Lookout
The panoramic view from Tobias Peak includes Mt. Whitney and the Golden Trout Wilderness, the Great Western Divide made up beautiful Moses Mountain, Maggie Mountain, Slate Mountain, Dome Rock, and The Needles; the western face of the Kern Plateau, Kern River Valley in the South Lake Isabella area as well as Kelso Valley; North Cold Springs ridge where giant sequoias are visible, as well as Deer Creek Grove; Pine Flat and Hot Springs area out to the great San Joaquin basin and on to the coastal foothills; and close by, Posey by beautiful Linn’s Valley.
Photo: Sequoia National Forest – R Tree
Baker Point Lookout and Baker Point Botanical Area
The granite buttress of Baker Point tops out at 7,754 feet. It not only provides awe-inspiring views, about 780 acres of this rock formation is protected as the Baker Point Botanical Area. The Sequoia National Forest is one of the most diverse botanical regions in California, supporting more than one quarter of the state’s species of flora. The Baker Point Botanical Area contains many “rock-loving” plants, including three species considered sensitive. Some of the endemic flowers found here and nowhere else except in the southern Sierra Nevada include the Kern Swertia (Swertia tubulosa) and Coville’s mule-ears (Agnorhiza invenusta). Baker Point also supports a diverse forest of sugar pine, Jeffrey pine, and white fir, which has weathered recent wildfires in apparent good health.
Sunday Peak Trailhead
This superb summer hike climbs under a forested canopy of incense cedar, pine, and red fir in the Greenhorn Mountains near Portuguese Pass. When the canopy opens to the sunshine and vistas, the trail is already above 8,000 feet in elevation. Because of the vast expanse of terrain visible, this peak used to have a US Forest Service Lookout tower. After being replaced by the tower at Tobias Peak, it was destroyed in the 1950’s and has returned to its natural state.
Sunday Peak is on the Sierra Club’s ‘Hundred Peaks Section’ Peak List.