Slate Mountain-Quaking Aspen


Season: Mid June to Early October
Distance: 4 miles to the junction
Elevation: Trail Head – 7,160 feet

Summit – 9,300 feet

Junction – 9,050 feet

Gain – 2,100 feet

Difficulty: Up – Moderate, 4 hours

Down – Easy, 2 hours

Drinking water: Spring at side of trail half way up


This hike takes you to the highest point in the Upper Tule Area, Slate Mountain. The 360 degree panorama is well worth the effort.

From the Western Divide Highway, take the Quaker Meadow Road (21S78) to the steel gate, which may, or may not be open. A good parking spot is located about 200 yards before the gate on the north side of the road. Walk along the road to the Summit Trail head (31E14), which is about 100 feet before the gate.

For the first mile and a half, the trail is nearly level, gradually climbing through meadows, forest and two clear cut areas, then it begins a steady climb. After about a mile, the trail passes through a saddle between a large rock outcrop on your left and the mountain on your right. From the top of the rock, you get an excellent view of the Kern River Canyon. The trail continues up the east face of Slate Mountain for about a half mile, crosses a major saddle and continues up the northern face. The summit of the trail is reached where it crosses a ridge to your right. This is the junction of the Bear Ridge Trail (31E31) and the Summit Trail (31E14).

The summit of the mountain is a pile of granite boulders and is reached by a short trail-less climb to your left.

Continuing on the Summit Trail to your left takes you about 4 1/2 miles to Windy Gap. Turning right down the Bear Ridge Trail takes you to either Belknap Campground (6 miles) or Coy Flat (7 miles). See WINDY GAP – SLATEĀ MOUNTAIN TRAIL and SLATE MOUNTAIN – BEAR RIDGE TRAIL.