Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Sierra National Forest: Mount Tom Lookout

(Elevation 9,020’)
Dale Matson

Click On Photographs To Enlarge

Mt. Tom Lookout
This Is Also A Repeater Location For Forest Service And Law Enforcement Radios

There is not much information on the Mt. Tom Fire Lookout. This is probably because it is a 3 hour drive from Fresno CA over Kaiser Pass. The turn off is about four miles after you go over the pass at the sign that indicates “Sample Meadow”. Follow the signs until you come to an intersection with signs that indicate “Mt. Tom” and “Half Corral Trail”. Turn left and you will soon see the sign for the Mt. Tom road.
I have mixed feelings about giving directions because the last three miles are difficult and potentially dangerous. The road is narrow and one lane only, with only two pull outs along the three miles. This means if you meet a vehicle coming toward you, one of you may have to back up for a mile on a road that is more like an OHV trail. You must be an experienced mountain driver with a high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle. When I came back down from the lookout, I had my truck in 4-wheel drive and low range.
I was fortunate that I did not meet another vehicle on this three-mile section up or down. If I ever go again, I will plan this section as a 6 mile round trip a day hike. Once you turn off Kaiser Pass road, a regular passenger car is not suitable.
When I climbed the last 30’ on the tower stair, I was let in to take photographs, sign the register and chat about the different locations that can be seen from the tower. The Mates were the hosting couple who were on duty. They allowed me to take their photograph and they have the name of my blog where they will be posted along with the other photographs.

I used my Sony A7R2, 24-70mm 2.8 GM lens and an adapted Canon 70-200mm 2.8 lens. The sky was smoky toward the “Eagles Beaks” but clear in other directions. It seems odd but of all the times I have been on Kaiser Peak, I have never noticed the Mt. Tom Lookout Tower, which would be visible from Kaiser Peak. I enjoyed my views and visit but not the 3-hour trip back home with lots of bumps along the way.

Garmin GPS Route

This Is Easier Than Starting At The Twin Lakes Trailhead At Badger Flat
On Kaiser Pass Road.

 Turn Left Here
Note Days And Visiting Hours

 Edison Lake Barely Visible Left Center
 Banner Ritter
 Mammoth Mountain 
 Mt. Hilgard, Mt. Gabb And Recess Peak

 Kaiser Peak

Mt Givens Center
 Mt. Goddard Far Right

 Mammoth Mtn. 200mm

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