Mt. Abel (Cerro Noreoeste) to Three Falls via Sheep Camp and Lily Meadow

Chumash Wilderness (Los Padres National Forest)

 

Highlights: The hike to Sheep Camp is a moderate 2 mile backpack (one-way), starting at Cerro Noreoeste campground on top of Mt. Abel (8,287 ft), that leads to a tree-shaded campsite with an all-year spring and great view. From Sheep Camp, 6 miles of downhill leads past a waterfall below the Lily Meadow trail camp to end at Camp Three Falls, a BSA summer camp run by the Ventura County Council. You can also climb switchbacks from Sheep Camp for a 5-mile (roundtrip) dayhike to the top of Mt. Pinos (8,831 ft). A car shuttle can be set up at the Scout camp to retrieve cars parked at Mt. Abel.

Directions: The drive takes about 1 hours from Bakersfield.

  • Go south on I-5, and take the Frazier Park exit before reaching Tejon Pass.
  • Continue west for 7 miles on Frazier Mountain Road, and stay right at the junction past Lake of the Woods. (The left fork leads to Lockwood Valley Ranger Station and eventually to Camp Three Falls.)
  • Continue uphill for 4 miles and turn right on Mil Potrero Road at the next junction. DO NOT bear left to the top of Mt. Pinos.
  • Continue another 8 miles through Pine Mountain resort, uphill to a pass, and turn left (south) onto paved road just before a sign marking Apache Saddle.
  • Continue on paved road, passing a turnoff to Camp Condor and through a gate that winds uphill 7 miles to the top of Mt. Able. The remains of an old ski lodge are passed on the left just before reaching the campground at the end of the road.

A NATIONAL FOREST ADVENTURE PASS ($5.00) IS REQUIRED and can be purchased at Big 5 Sports in Bakersfield, or at the Ranger Station on Lockwood Valley Road.

Trailhead: The trailhead is on the east side of the road 1/2 mile below the summit. From the campsite on top, drive downhill 1/2 mile, past the ski lodge and around the curve, to the signed trailhead. Hike downhill about a half mile, and go left at a junction where the trail flattens out. The trail then climbs to a second junction at the 2-mile mark. The right junction leads past a small spring to a second spring at Sheep Camp. The left junction leads 2 miles to the top of Mt. Pinos (8,831 ft), which can be done as a 5-mile dayhike. From Sheep Camp, hike downhill for 6 miles, passing Lily Meadow trail camp 3 miles out and a nice waterfall 4 miles out, to end at Camp Three Falls Boy Scout Camp. Contact Camp Ranger Victor Staley at (661) 245-1206 to leave cars here for a shuttle back to Mt. Abel.

Maps: Sawmill Mountain and San Guillermo Mountain 7-minute topographic quadrangles

Cautions:

  • Sheep Camp sits above 8,000 ft elevation and is snowbound in winter.
  • U.S. Forest Service Adventure Pass ($5.00) and fire permit (free) are required and can be obtained at the Ranger Station (661-245-3731) on Lockwood Valley Road.
  • The Sheep Camp spring drains directly from the hillside and is safe to drink. However, Giardia is a concern in the creek below camp, and a water purifier is advised if an overnight stay at Lily Meadow or the waterfall is planned.

 



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