Mt Umunhum hike

Date: 15 April 2018

Duration: 4 hours

Distance: ~8 mile out & back hike (3.7miles one way to the summit)

Elevation gain: ~1200 feet

Difficulty: Easy - Moderate

Trailhead: Bald Mountain Parking Area

Trail: Bald mountain parking area -> Mt. Umunhum trail -> Summit

Info: All you need to know about Mt. Umunhum, Trail map

Best time to hike: The trail is mostly shaded so any time during the day works.

The act of exploring has been human race’s best quality, providing not just a sense of adventure but also an effective way to progress. Be it space exploration, underwater exploration or exploring things new. After a long time this hike was my way of exploring new trails. Ever since Mt. Umunhum opened up to the public sometime late last year (2017), I’ve wanted to hike up to the summit and take in the beautiful vistas from the top. This finally happened in April and we went as a trio; Shruti, Koushik & I. The trail formation and opening is a recent effort by the Sierra Azul open space preserve, and thus this trail is very well marked with shiny new trail markers and signage. You’d have to try pretty hard to get yourself lost.

Most of the trail is pretty shaded and very green. Although the trail is very beautiful, its a shared trail - equestrian, hiking & mountain biking. Early morning hike is highly recommended. The trail climbs from ~2300 feet to ~3500 feet at the summit. We start the hike pretty late (~8:00am). Right from the beginning, the trail meandered along the hills transporting us to a calm and serene surrounding. Elevation gained so gradually that I was perplexed as to when we would get to the steep part. The green fern, mountain vistas, wooden bridges across streams just made it amazing. We pretty much had the trail to ourselves on the way to the top. About ten or so minutes into the hike, the summit & the spherical signal tower between the east & west summits comes to sight. Guadalupe creek overlook is a great mid-way place to take a break and relax, taking in the sights and sounds of nature. The Guadalupe creek with the sound of flowing water acts as a complementary catalyst for relaxation of the mind. We stopped here for a couple of pictures before making our way towards the summit. The remaining part of the trail gradually climbs all the way to the summit. The trail goes all the way to the east summit but we exited at the trailhead shelter towards the west summit parking lot. From the parking lot, the summit itself can be accessed via a bunch of stairs leading to the top.

At the west summit, construction of a rock garden was in progress. I’m sure this effort will see a very artistic end to it. We got to the summit at 9:40am. On the way back, Shruti & I ran down quicker, we started from the trailhead shelter at ~10am and were back down at the car by 10:50 am. It turned out to be a great short hike. Until next time..