Sierra Pelona Mountains

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Sierra Pelona Mountains
Sierra Pelona Mountains.JPG
View from Santa Clarita
Highest point
Peak Burnt Peak[1]
Elevation 5,791 ft (1,765 m)
Coordinates 34°36′56.5″N 118°33′54.0″W / 34.615694°N 118.565000°W / 34.615694; -118.565000Coordinates: 34°36′56.5″N 118°33′54.0″W / 34.615694°N 118.565000°W / 34.615694; -118.565000
Sierra Pelona Mountains is located in California
Sierra Pelona Mountains
Sierra Pelona Mountains
Location of Sierra Pelona Mountains in California [2]
Country United States
State California
Counties Los Angeles and Kern
Parent range Transverse Ranges
Borders on San Emigdio Mountains and Tehachapi Mountains

The Sierra Pelona Mountains,[3] or the Sierra Pelona Ridge, is a mountain range of the Transverse Ranges in Southern California.[4] They are located within Los Angeles (northwest) and Kern (southern) Counties. This range lies in, and is surrounded by, the Angeles National Forest, with the San Andreas fault as the northern border of the range.



The Sierra Pelona Mountains lie northwest of the San Gabriel Mountains, flanked to the south by the Santa Clarita Valley and on the north by the Antelope Valley. The San Andreas Fault runs to their north. Toward the southwest lie Vasquez Rocks, a region of the mountains where the San Andreas Fault thrusted up heaping layers of rock. The Tejon Pass separates the Sierra Pelonas, the San Emigdios and the Tehachapis near Gorman and Lebec.

Within the Sierra Pelonas can be found the rural areas of Three Points, Lake Hughes, Elizabeth Lake and Green Valley, as well as Liebre Mountain, Burnt Peak, Sawmill Mountain, Grass Mountain and Mount McDill.


The climate of the mountains is a temperate Mediterranean, with mostly dry summers (except for the occasional summer thunderstorm) and cold, wet winters. Snowfall is infrequent during winter months due to their lower elevation relative to neighboring mountain ranges.


As a whole, the range falls under the California montane chaparral and woodlands ecoregion, with the exception being its northeastern flank as it gradually depends into the Antelope Valley near Palmdale. They are also prone to wildfires in the summer and fall, during which the Santa Ana winds blow in from the Antelope Valley.

The mountains are primarily covered in short grasses, scrub oak trees, yucca, and other chaparral shrubs.


Three major tributaries of the Santa Clara River originate from these mountains: Castaic Creek, San Francisquito Creek, and Bouquet Creek. Various other smaller creeks contribute in much smaller volumes to the outflow of water from the mountains into the Santa Clara River.

Within the narrow valley that divides the mountains from the Antelope Valley lies three sag ponds: Lake Hughes, Munz Lakes, and Elizabeth Lake.

Aerial view of the Sierra Pelona Mountains and San Andreas Fault.

Human history[edit]

Native American Habitation[edit]

The Sierra Pelona Mountains were the homeland of the Tataviam and Serrano Native American Native American Californian people. They traded with the Tongva and Chumash people to the south and west, until the Spanish invasion and subsequent colonization relocated them from their Sierra Pelona and Santa Susana Mountains homelands.

20th Century[edit]

The Ridge Route, completed in 1915, was a major two-lane highway constructed on the western flank of the mountain range, connecting Los Angeles to the rest of California. It was later bypassed by US 99 in 1953, and replaced again by Interstate 5 in 1968.

With the rapid development of Southern California throughout the 20th century, the Sierra Pelona Mountains have become the site of the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct and five separate reservoirs that have supplied water to the region: Castaic Lake, Bouquet Reservoir, Drinkwater Reservoir, Dry Canyon Reservoir, and the St. Francis Reservoir. The latter two reservoirs have long since been drained and destroyed, respectively.

Highest peaks[edit]

  • Burnt Peak 5,788 ft (1,764 m)
  • Liebre Mountain 5,760+ ft (1756+ m)
  • Sawmill Mountain 5,514 ft (1681 m)
  • Jupiter Mountain 4,498 ft (1,371 m)
  • Redrock Mountain (benchmark) 3,991 ft (1,216 m)

Adjacent Landforms[edit]


  1. ^ "Burnt Peak". 
  2. ^ "Sierra Pelona Mountains". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2015-12-16. 
  3. ^ [1], United States Geological Survey GNIS Detail Sierra Pelona, accessed 6/10/11
  4. ^ [2], USGS GNIS Detail San Gabriel Mountains.