Number 89 on the Nifty Ninety list was going to be a challenge. Burra Burra Peak is at the far southern edge of Henry W. Coe State Park, but the southern Dowdy entrance to is only open in the summer, and only on weekends. With a bit of research though I found you can still hike the seven miles uphill from Highway 152, or mountain bike it. So bike it was!
After hoisting my bike over the gate at the bottom of Kaiser-Aetna Road I began a long trudge on the well-graded road, up through private ranch lands, to a broader plateau at about 2000′ where the views opened out marvelously. Mariposa, Cathedral and Laveaga Peaks to the south, Robison, Stakes and Boardman to the north, and out in the east lesser hills and the Central Valley. I’d read of occasional mountain lion sightings in the area, and had seen and watched a bobcat only two days before, but today was quiet; no danger, just open sky and a road to ride.
The seven and a half miles went quickly. The last part was a single track up to the very base of Burra Burra. A quick walk and I found the top, and a register with lots of familiar names.
As I started back down I heard steady gunfire in the valley below, more likely target practice than any kind of hunting. Making haste I sped down the road and soon was out of earshot. The best part of a long uphill bike ride is the long downhill ride back, an easy payoff for all the uphill effort.
Agency: California State Parks
Location: Henry W. Coe State Park