Sunday, March 08, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
Just thought I would share this picture of a wild brown trout I caught not to long ago. I blurred the background because it's my secret fishing hole. All that I will reveal is that it is somewhere in the San Gabriel Mountains. Remember when you fish in our local mountains to practice catch and release!
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Jones Peak via Bastard Ridge
1.8 miles one way
3.6 miles round trip
Return via Crossover Trail to Old Mt. Wilson Trail = 5.3 miles round trip
Return via Bailey Canyon = 5 miles round trip
Strenuous but short
Fall, Winter, Spring. Anytime when the weather is cool. Cloud cover is a blessing.
IntroductionThis short little hike starts on the Old Mt. Wilson Trail and takes you up a fire break to the summit of Jones Peak. The trail is very steep and loose. It is mainly like walking up a staircase (which is still class 1 even thought it's intense) but has a few spots of class 2 and even 3 where you will be using your hands to get up this ridge. This hike is in the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains and there is no shade. All this brought one hike reviewer on a forum to call this ridge "Bastard Ridge". The name was so appropriate that the name stuck. Source
TrailheadFrom the 210 Freeway, exit on Santa Anita Ave and head north. At Sierra Madre Blvd, turn left and drive about a mile until you reach Mountain Trail Ave. Turn right (you'll be heading north again) and continue all the way to the end of the street. As the road ends, turn left onto Mira Monte Ave. To your right is Mt. Wilson Trail Park. Park at the park. Follow Mount Wilson Trail Dr. about 170 yards north to the trail sign-in. For more, see the trailhead section of this post.
The HikeStart hiking! Soon you will make it out of the houses and pass a palm tree (keep right). After that you will continue to go up the trail. As the trail climbs, you will pass a draw, then a small ridge, and another draw. Bastard Ridge is the next ridge coming up so don't miss it! As soon as you come to the ridge you will notice some switchbacks. They are easy to miss though if you are not looking for them. You now need to go left taking the switchbacks up. Coordinates for your turn are N 34° 10.608' W 118° 2.697'. This all happens in less then a miles from the trailhead.
There are around 24 switchbacks which you will climb. After hiking up those you will notice the trail continues into the canyon to reconnect with the Old Mt. Wilson Trail. Do not follow it. Now is when the fun begins. You are about to climb over 1,500ft in just 0.75 miles. You continue up the ridge. There is no real trail here. There are no switchbacks. All that exists is what you could call a game trail. In the start it isn't that bad. It helps to have trekking poles. Even though it is steep it is all class 1. After some hiking the ridge will start to become even steeper! Then you will get to one spot that is very steep. To make matters worse, water has eroded the path in such a way that the already loose gravely trail is even more slick and it is very hard to get footing. This little spot is class 3. You will probably have to grip with your hands (so I suggest bringing gloves) and will probably have to be very careful with your footing. After that the trail will be like it started; steep but class 1. Before you know it, the trail will start to even out and you will be on-top of Jones Peak!
OptionsFrom here you have a few options. You can go back down the ridge to the trailhead which would make your hike 3.6 miles in total. I for one would not like to think about going downhill on the loose steep part and wouldn't suggest this route.
What I did is I took the crossover trail down to the helipad where you join with the Old Mt. Wilson Trail again. You break away from the ridge at N 34° 11.375' W 118° 3.147' After reaching the helipad you can go back to the trailhead making the hike 5.3 miles in total or you can continue to Orchard Camp.
The third option is to take the trail to the left (when looking north) down into Bailey Canyon. After switchbacking the trail down 3.2 miles you will end up at the Bailey Canyon Park which is the trailhead for this route. If you can't have someone pick you up, it's only a 0.7 miles walk though the flatlands back to Mt. Wilson Trail Park.
Another option is to continue up the ridge to Hastings Peak, Mt. Wilson Toll Road and Mt. Yale.
Final Thoughts- Bring lots of water. The trail is tough and there is no shade.
- Watch for rattlesnakes
- Don't let this trail guide scare you. If you are in shape and are used to the outdoors you probably can handle the trail. Know your limits though.
- Once you summit you have a greater feel of accomplishment if you can make it.
- Do not do this hike when it's hot outside.
- Fun fact: you can see the ridge and "trail" from the 605 on a clear day and point to it saying "I did this crazy climb to that peak"
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
A complete guide to the Old Mt. Wilson Trail
First Water 1.5 miles
Orchard Camp 3.5 miles
Manzanita Ridge 5.2 miles
Mt. Wilson 7 miles
Round trip 14 miles
First water 980ft
Orchard Camp 2,000ft
Manzanita Ridge 3,500ft
Mt. Wilson: 4,700ft
Spring and Fall. Top can have snow after a storm in the winter. Very hot in the summer.
I write this because there are a few pages for hiking Mt. Wilson via The Old Mt. Wilson Trail but they do not go into detail. However there are guides out there for hiking to just First Water or Orchard Camp. Following is a complete guide to the whole trail including First Water, Orchard Camp, Manzanita Ridge all the way to the summit of Mt. Wilson.
The Mt. Wilson Trail was the first real trail ever constructed in the front range. Benjamin D. (Don Bento) Wilson hired workers to make the trail so he could log the trees on the top of the mountain for fence posts and wine barrels in 1864. Even before that, Gabrieleno Indians used a rougher trail here to access the canyon, the peak, and even the desert to the north. Ever since it's construction in 1864, hikers and outdoors-men have enjoyed the trail, and today still, it is very popular and well traveled by many.
TrailheadThe trailhead is a location of it's own. Two historic buildings and a park mark the start to this trail. Richardson House is one of the two small dwellings built by John Richardson in 1864. Lizzie's Trail Inn offers fried chicken and ravioli to hikers and packers traveling the Mount Wilson Trail from 1890 until 1948. Today both are museums. Because the trailhead is in the city of Sierra Madre, no adventure pass is required.
First Water is just that, the first water. The hike here is well worth it, views of Sierra Madre, lush plants, the creek, even waterfalls. This is a great hike if you have a limited amount of time, are new to hiking, or just want some exercise running in the morning.
The trail starts out on the side of a small draw passing a few houses above. Do enjoy the only shade you will have until reaching first water on this small 0.2 mile segment of the trail. The trail then merges with the private road (Mt. Wilson Trail Dr.). From there, a fire restriction sign can be seen under a palm tree, at this point, take the prominent trail to the right.
From First Water, hiking back up to the junction, the trail continues to climb. The trail becomes less rugged but still just as steep and the shade of oak and pine trees greets you on northern slopes and in draws.
Enjoy your break? Good, because the trail Immediately starts climbing and switchbacking, you'll also get some chaparral and sun. Soon the switchbacks will end, the shade will start again, and the trail will continue a steadily climb. After hiking a mile from orchard camp, and gaining another 800ft, you will find yourself at Last Water. It is just that, the last water you will have a chance to filter for the rest of the hike (see notes). Cross the creek, the trail will head west and then switchback once. After that there is a really sketchy part of the trail (see photo and notes). You have now hiked the whole course of the canyon and are on the sides of Mt. Harvard and Manzanita Ridge. This part of the trail will be drier but still very pretty, and has some shade. You'll obtain some great views of the canyon below. After hiking this for 0.7 miles, you will reach Manzanita Ridge at an area called Manzanita Ridge Junction. Here you will find a nice bench to rest on, dedicated to David Twinkle (the man that died on the closed section of the trail back before first water). Facing South there are three options. The trail to the left is the Winter Creek Trail, this will take you down into the Big Santa Anita Canyon and Chantry Flats.
The trail gently climbs though pine forests on the east side of manzanita ridge.
Notes:Tree age - These trees can get old. There is a coastal live oak in Temecula that is like 1,500 years old or something. Whatever the age, it's really old. Here is my source for the 500 year old claim: http://www.dankat.com/mstory/trail.htm
Water sources - I don't think any of the water sources listed (First water, Lost canyon, Decker Springs, Last water) are reliable. Pack water as if there were no sources. I carry a steripen. If I come across clean water, I hydrate with the water I already have, then refill and steri. I'm not sure if there is water at the summit. When I went, all facilities including the restrooms were closed.
Helpful links and sources -
History about Mt. Wilson
Dan's Hiking Pages - Orchard Camp
Summitpost's page of the trail
Mt. Wilson Historical Timeline
Sunday, September 21, 2014
|San Gorgonio Summit Marker|
|The trailhead is at the bottom of this basin,
as seen from the trail near the summit.
Read this page as if you were hiking the trail. That is, if I'm talking about the trail to Poop-out hill, and you want to hike to south fork, then read the whole page up to south fork, not just the south fork bit.
Also note that my distance measurement on the headers is by the SGWA/USFS guide, but in the paragraph I'm using Google Earth. Neither are exactly perfectly accurate.
|C. Horse Meadows|
|D. The trail|
Best time: Road closed during winter I think. Spring has more water
For: Hikers, Horses, Dogs
Map: click here
|E. the ghost tree|
|B. wilderness boundary|
South Fork Meadows (7.6mi rt. 1,300ft g.)
|H. First avalanche site looking down|
I will write about Dry Lake first and then about Dollar Lake. Also, if you are going to the summit, consider making it a loop as both will go to the summit.
Dry Lake (11.4mi rt. 2190ft. g.)
After going though South Fork Meadows and hopefully not falling into the river on your river crossing, you will hike a little bit through a rocky area and then cross one more fork of south fork (i). After that, you only have about 1.5 miles to Dry Lake. You begin to ascend 6 small switchbacks that bring you into a small valley. At this point you're on the side of a ridge of Grinnel Mountain. There should be a spring at 34°07'34.43 N 116°50'08.43 but the only reliable water options you have on this trail are South Fork and Lodgepole spring. As you continue walking, the valley floor gets higher and you'll be hiking into it. This is a pretty part that reminded me of walking in Icehouse Canyon. Before you know it you have Dry Lake in front of you (j). Depending on how much water and snow the mountains got, and when you hike it, you either have a cool lake, a marsh, or a meadow.
You can camp here at Dry Lake Campground, or at Lodgepole Spring Campground. Lodgepole Spring is about a quarter of a mile up from the camp. It's a very relaxing place.
|J.a. Dry Lake 8/19/12|
|I. A fork of a fork|
|J.b. Dry Lake 9/19/11|
Mineshaft Saddle (14.6mi rt. 3,070ft g.)
|K. Memorial plaque|
|L. The Tarn|
Mt. San Gorgonio (22.8mi rt. 4,602ft g.)
To summit San Gorgonio, you need to take the sky high trail (south). This is the hardest part of the trail. The first mile you have loose gravel and a few tricky spots. You will then see some air
Dollar Lake (13mi rt. 2,340ft g.)
|0. Camping Map|
|N. Trail to Dollar Lake|
|P. Dollar Lake|
Dollar Lake Saddle (14.8mi rt. 3,100ft g.)
|Q. Sign Marking Dollar Lake Saddle|
Mt. San Gorgonio (21.4mi rt. 4,602ft g.)
|T. Jepson Peak|
ey meet this trail, you'll want to just cont
inue on this trail. Soon, you have just a 10th of a mile more and only 70ft gain and you will be at the top (m). You can camp at the summit also.