It’s more than just a catchy name...
Don’t bother looking for “Rock Wall Peak” on Cal or FS Topo because you’re not going to find it, [at least not at this juncture]. “Rock Wall Peak” is merely just UN 4268’ on official USGS maps; however, most who visit this peak are likely to agree that its unofficial name, Rock Wall Peak, is quite appropriate and much more fitting: to the North and slightly East of the peak, [about 0.05 miles as the crow flies], there is a small saddle area where a rock wall has literally been constructed.
In addition to sampling the area’s exceptionally beautiful scenery and getting a chance to check out the neat rock wall just below the summit, the short bushwhack to Rock Wall Peak is a very versatile one. Short on time or passing through the area and in need of a quick ‘leg-stretcher’ type of adventure? Simply drive to the starting point, (about 10-15 minutes off I-19), and knock off the loop route that I executed in 2-3 hours. Have more time to burn / looking for something longer? Simply incorporate Rock Wall Peak into a longer adventure… trust me when I say, there is no shortage of nearby peaks…!
Hike (Note: this pertains to the route I took; given the off-trail nature of peak-bagging, my route is merely a suggestion; and from the looks of the topo and the actual terrain, many other fun possibilities exist. For a more adventurous option, skip toward the bottom of this description): About 4.25 miles down FR 684, there will be two forest service roads on the left that are very close to one another. The first is FR 4833 and the second is FR 4141. On the right side of the road just a few feet past FR 4141 is a large clearing area that makes for a perfect parking spot and staring point.
From this parking area, go across FR 684 and onto to FR 4141. After about 0.80 miles, I departed from FR 4141 to begin the bushwhack. There are many peaks / rock crags of similar size, which makes it very easy to get turned around [and very difficult to identify Rock Wall Peak]. For this reason, I do not recommend embarking upon this adventure without use of a GPS app like Route Scout.
Short on time, I opted for a ‘play-it-safe’ type of approach, which simply involved contouring the craggy areas, pretty much right up until I was in direct line with Rock Wall Peak. At this point I began the final short ascent, heading NW up a ridge to the summit. It was only about 0.15 miles from the point I angled my path to go up the NW ridge to when I reached the peak, but there were about 2-3 little false summits during the short stretch that made things even more fun. Although the vegetation is quite long in the summer months, I was lucky to have found some well-defined routes that led pretty much the entire way from FR 4141 to the peak. Visibility was fair to good with only a handful of really brushy spots; and most of the brush was grass/of the non-thorny variety. While there was also a fair amount of cacti in a few places, [mostly ocotillo], there was decent margin for error in between. The footing was also pretty decent throughout; that said, you’ll definitely be going a lot slower than on a dirt road / trail to avoid twisting an ankle on the many rocks; but luckily there was nothing too steep / too loose.
Views from the peak are outstanding! Relative to the many surrounding peaks, Rock Wall is situated below some and above others, giving a great variety of views; and with neat shaped peaks to marvel at in all directions, it’s really an awesome summit. To spot the rock wall, just look a very short ways below you toward the North and you should be able to see it easily. There is a small register on Rock Wall Peak that is located under a few rocks that form the summit cairn. The small paper inside states the following:
Pk 4268 SAHC
Rock Wall Peak
[Followed by a single sign in of two people who bagged the peak on 3-24-2005]
In addition to being located in what most would consider a remote area, I’m guessing the lack of signatures also has something to do with the fact that the register lacks a writing implement.
After enjoying the peak, I headed down to check out the rock wall. It’s in excellent condition and it would be interesting to know it’s approximate age, why it may have been built, etc. Next I scrambled the short distance up to the top of the rocky nub that’s located just to the North of the rock wall; and then I headed counterclockwise around the nub; then about 0.60 miles to the NE, followed by about 0.30 miles to the North, at which point I arrived back on FR 684. The decent was not difficult and it was very similar in terms of the vegetation / footing to the ascent… minus the nice route, [which resulted in less than perfect visibility during snake season but nothing too horrendous]. Once back on FR 684, it was an easy stroll of just under 1 mile to complete the loop and arrive back at the starting point.
Adventurous Version: a much more adventurous version of the route I detailed above would be the ‘horseshoe traverse’. If you look at a topo, what I mean by this should be obvious: the rock crags in Rock Wall Peak’s immediate vicinity form a horseshoe shape, [with the open part facing to the NE and Rock Wall Peak situated at the tip, to the SW. While I can’t say for certain if the entire horseshoe is possible without cliffing out, everything that I was able to see looked totally doable.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.