The first tower on this site was erected in 1954 by KSBW-TV Channel 8 (NBC-Salinas). KSBW moved their primary transmitter to Mount Madonna above Watsonville in 1987, but they built the new $5 million tower here in 2002 and returned their transmitter. They also have a webcam operating from atop one of the towers, pointing over Salinas straight at...more
Controversial US Army officer and politician, John C. Fremont made camp on Fremont Peak (with some 60 US soldiers), & they claim he raised the first American flag on California soil on this peak in 1846. This was before CA joined the US so Fremont was trying to provoke the Mexicans into the war that eventually occurred.The first of the Fremont...more
From the summit of Fremont Peak, you can see about 30 miles in every direction: Hollister, San Juan Bautista, Santa Cruz, Moss Landing, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Salinas and just about everything in between. Only the southeasterly view is limited due to the large TV, radio, and cellular towers on the neighboring hill, plus the Gavilan Range...more
I saw a variety of wildlife at Fremont Peak despite being in the park just 2 or 3 hours including quail, lizards, squirrels, deer, and butterflies.I saw a little covey of California Quail along the Valley View Trail. This small, ground-dwelling bird is actually the state bird of California! Coast Range Fence Lizard live along the California coast...more
The Fremont Peak Trail runs from the last parking lot near the base of the peak, to the summit of Fremont Peak. The trail is less than a mile long, and a very easy hike except for a few steep, rocky sections near the top. The very beginning of the trail has the Fremont plaque and the Fremont historic marker. About halfway to the top of the peak,...more
The 37-acre Fremont Peak State Park is home to an observatory, four small primitive campgrounds, perhaps two miles of trails, and a few historical markers. The observatory is operated by the Fremont Peak Observatory Association, and has been in operation since 1986. The observatory hosts public viewing and demonstrations about four times per month,...more
There are camping and picnic facilities in the park and there are marvelous views (photo 2) to look at while you are eating.
The Fremont Peak Day is an old fashioned picnic near the end of April sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Native Daughters of the Golden West. The event commemorates Captain John C. Fremont and his expedition’s U.S. flag raising in 1846 in defiance of the Mexican government.
In the roughly triangular shaped park, there are three main trails along the long, straight boundaries, plus two smaller trails. On the northern edge of the park you'll discover Cold Springs Trail, which runs about 1/2 mile from the main park entrance to a fire road near Oak Point Campground. Where this trail ends you can pick up the 1/2 mile...more
From Route 156 at San Juan Bautista to the parking areas of Fremont Peak is about 11 miles along San Juan Canyon Road. The beginning of this road is flat and traverses the old stage coach route. As it starts to gain elevation you will pass through several ranches with horses, cattle, and even some llamas or alpacas. After about five miles the...more
Fremont Peak is covered with poison oak. This three-leaf bush generates urushiol oil, which is also the poison found in poison ivy and poison sumac. Come in contact with a single leaf and you will be covered with an itchy red rash and possibly blisters before too long. The leaves are green most of the year, but turn red and orange in the fall. Luckily in Fremont Peak State Park, many of the commonly used areas with poison oak are well marked with warning signs. Pay attention and learn to recognize the shiny leaves so you can avoid this nasty stuff.
The oil can last up to five years, even on dead leaves of the poison oak. Reaction to the oil is considered the most common allergy in the country, and, while some rashes develop in a day or two, it can take 7 to 10 days for a rash to develop after contact. If you do come in contact with the oil, wash with plenty of soap and water, then treat the contaminated areas with rubbing alcohol.
The park also features an astronomical observatory with a 30-inch telescope, which is open for public programs on selected evenings.
It’s best to arrive before sundown as vehicle headlights after sunset disrupt astronomers’ night vision. Clouds or rain will cancel astronomy programs. Call the park for weather and program updates before you go.
In general, astronomers are friendly, outgoing, and happy to allow you to view through their telescopes and answer your questions. A few courtesies that will enhance everyone’s experience:
•Do not touch any part of any telescope unless the owner instructs you on the proper method. In particular, do not touch any glass optical surfaces.
•Please be sure that all children are supervised around telescopes.
•Remember, using lights near telescopes at night is highly disruptive. A piece of red "cellophane" wrapped over the end of a flashlight and held in place with a rubber band works great.
Open year round Day use hours 8:00am to one-half hour after Sunset