Allison Saddle of Iron Mountain via Heaton Flat




Organizer: Mike Cheng

Nature Lovers:

    Lead: Ledy

    Start time: 7:30 am

    Hikers: Brad Barton, Monica E, Yoon Mi, Mayra, Suraiya, Amy, Arlette, Romyleen, Gandhi, Irene, Grace, Dalia, Lee Adams, Renee, Cheryl 

Fast Hikers:

    Lead: Mike Cheng

    Start time: 8:00 am

    Hikers: the rest of the group

Location: Azusa, CA

Hike difficulty: Level 8/10

Distance: 9 miles

Elevation gain: 3600'

Moving pace: 2.2 mph

Time: 6 hours

Trail condition: mostly single file trail, no shade

Water: Minimum 3 liters (If you bring less than this amount, you will be in big trouble.)

Guest: no

Dog: no

Toilette: At trailhead

Adventure Pass: Parking lot - yes

                                  Street parking - no


What to bring: hat, long pants, sunscreen, energy bar, lunch, snacks, water, hiking poles, hiking shoes and the usual stuff.

Direction: From the 210 freeway exit at Azusa Avenue (Highway 39) and head north for 10 miles or so. Azusa Avenue becomes San Gabriel Canyon Road and parallels the San Gabriel Dam on the right. Turn right on East Fork Road and continue for another 8 miles until the road dead ends at the East Fork Ranger Station. Park in the lot or beside the road below the ranger station.

Parking: Public and street parking near the trail head. Adventure Pass is required. If parking is full near the trail head, you can park at the Oaks Picnic Area and hitchhike to the trail head. It is only 1 1/2 mile south of the trail head.

Carpool: Please sign up here.


Trail description:

Half of this hike will be along the ridge line. Some short sections of the trail are steep (50-60% grade), sandy and slippery. However, these slippery sections are generally short, less than 20 yards. There is no shade on this trail.

If your legs are not strong enough, one slip could mean serious injury. If you should slip along the ridge line, you could fall 1,000' to your demise.

Serious injury has happened on this hike before. You need to think twice before signing up.

If your pace is slower, there is a high likelihood that you will not reach the saddle before we turn around. Therefore, you must take your pace into consideration.

Unless you are a strong and experienced hiker, I strongly recommend that you use hiking poles.


Some sections of the Heaton Flat trail are very steep. These sections are usually short, less than 20 yds, but they could have a 50 % grade with a sandy base.


Venue Overview:

According to John Robinson, author of Trails of the Angeles, "8007 foot Iron Mountain is by far the least accessible peak in the San Gabriels....No trail approaches its isolated summit , and to climb it you must start miles away and thousands of feet below." In this local hiking legend's view, "Big Iron" is the most strenuous one-summit hike in the entire San Gabriel range. 

Originally, local miners in San Gabriel Canyon referred to the mountain as Sheep Mountain, descriptive of the herds of Bighorn sheep that once roamed its slopes. However, the U.S. Geological Survey, which mapped the San Gabriel Mountains in the 1890's, was apparently not as impressed with the fauna that roamed the surface of the mountain as it was with what lay beneath the surface, iron ore deposits. Thus the present name was bestowed. But the Bighorn were not entirely forgotten for the designated wilderness area where Big Iron is located is named "Sheep Mountain Wilderness."


Our Policy:

Profile photo: Anyone interested in joining US Hiking must have a profile photo showing his/her face. This is a requirement of our group. Without it, you will not be allowed to sign up for an event.

Waiting list priority: People who hike with with US Hiking regularly will be given priority when they are on the waiting list.

Advanced hikes: Anyone interested in participating in advanced hikes (>3,000' elevation gain or distance > 10 miles or Difficulty Level > = 7) will be subject to prescreening before his/her name will be added to the list. Therefore, interested hiker must share with the event host his/her recent hiking background to establish proficiency before his/her name will be added to the list. Guests are not allowed on advanced hikes.

Early departure: If a hiker needs to be separated from the group for any reason, he/she must inform the event host. Not knowing a hiker's where about may prompt the event host to report a hiker's missing to proper authority for further actions.

No show: If you sign up for an event but did not show up, you will be removed from the next event you sign up.

No minor: Meetup user agreement can not be agreed to by a minor. Therefore, you and your guest must be over 18 to participate in our events.  



If you have prior medical condition or a family history of illnesses pertaining to heart, lungs, brain, etc. that can be aggravated by heat and physical exertion, this is not the hike for you.

If you have never done a hike of this distance or difficulty before, this hike will be very difficult for you. It may well be your death march. The mountain is not going anywhere. We will schedule this event again in the future. Do it when your mind and body are ready.

Hiking is a recreation, not a suicide mission.

Release of Liability:

The organizer (me) of this trip is a volunteer and is not a professional guide. The function of the organizer is only to organize this trip. Each person who signs up for a trip/hike/or outing is responsible for his or her own safety and the safety of his or her guests.

By signing up for this trip, or any other event organized by me, you are acknowledging that you are aware and have made your guests aware of the risks, dangers and hazards associated with any outdoor activity and freely accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers and hazards, and further agree to release and discharge the organizer (me) of this hike from and against any and all liability arising from your and your guest's participation in the group activities.

US Hiking, its organizer, assistant organizers, event organizers are not responsible for any injuries or accidents that may occur carpooling to and from this event, or for any injuries or accidents incurred before, during, and after this event. If you sign up or participate in an event you acknowledge that you freely and voluntarily agree to assume all risks of injuries and damages arising from, as a result of and associated with this event.

In addition, you and your guests are acknowledging that you agree to the Meetup terms of service especially paragraph 6.2:

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  • Arjun M.

    Great day for hiking! Thanks to Mike for setting this up. I will definitely be back for more.

    1 · May 12

  • Mayra

    Thanks Ledy and Mike!!!! Pefect weather for fun times.

    1 · May 11

  • Gandhi R

    Great hike with right weather. Awesome. I really liked the idea to get into water at the end. Nice plan. Thanks Mike.

    1 · May 11

  • Daniel

    Wonderful Hike!! The best part was the small sample of Iron Mountain. That beast will get conquered. I haven't seen anything like it and I'm looking forward to the challenge. Thank you Mike for setting this up. Had a great time meeting new people and cooling off at the stream. Looking forward to the upcoming schedule.

    2 · May 11

  • Mike C.

    Thank you for joining Ledy and me for this fun Sunday hike. Almighty granted us favorable weather. Cool breeze accompanied us all day and made a challenging hike so much easier to accomplish. . .

    Kudos to you all for completing this hike in record time of 5 hours, including ascending the 1st wall for a taste of the Big Iron. .

    Let me take this opportunity to thank those who made this hike possible. First of all, we need to thank Ledy for leading the Nature Lovers group. She has assisted me countless times in the past. Since forming US Hiking, I have urged her to lend her expertise by becoming a hike leader, and she finally agreed. .

    Let me also thank Araceli for leading the fast hiker group and Daniel for being a diligent sweeper throughout. This hike would not be the same without your contribution. .

    We have lots of exciting events scheduled. I look forward to seeing you all soon.

    3 · May 11

  • violet

    I now got an idea how tough the whole iron mountain hike is. Our today's hike to the base before the intimidating walls was quite a butt kicker already. Get to hike more with the team. Thanks as always to our leaders, sweepers, and fellow hikers for the unbeatable Sunday workout!

    3 · May 11

  • Araceli

    A great Butt kicker Workout in perfect weather! Thank you Mike!

    2 · May 11

  • Arlette

    A great hike and a very nice Mothers Day present thank you Mike Cheng, Ledy and Mayra!

    2 · May 11

  • Lesa M.

    Good weather today & a great hike leader in Mike Cheng!

    2 · May 11

  • Monica E

    Challenging workout. Loved the cold plunge at the end.. Thanks, Mike and Ledy.

    3 · May 11

  • Lee A.

    Great hike (as usual), with a taste of Iron Mtn!

    4 · May 11

  • Mike C.

    Hi Everyone, To be clear the meeting place to start the hike is at the gate, not at the trail head.

    May 10

  • Allen L.

    Mike, I'm not going to make it. Mother's Day function. Have a good hike everyone.

    May 10

  • laurie V.

    Big day today. Not enough energy left to make it tomorrow. Hope you all have a great hike.

    May 10

  • Mike C.

    Hi Everyone: Many of you are new to US Hiking so let me introduce you to our carpool arrangement, that is the carpool signup sheet in the middle of the event page. .

    If you plan to offer as a carpool driver, please fill in your name, carpool location, leaving time and your carpool fare. Anyone interested in carpooling should check out this sheet periodically to see if anything comes up that fit your need. .

    If you find a carpool ride that suits you, simply fill in your name in one of the open field for passenger name. That's it. This arrangement should cut down the countless posts about carpool. .

    If you plan to offer carpool ride, may I suggest that you select a centralized location for this purpose. There are many Park and Ride throughout the city and you should consider them. .

    Please use Goolgle Map. Identify a carpool location, say Encino. Input "Park and Ride near Encino" in the Google search bar. Then all the nearby Park and Rides will show up on the map.

    May 9

  • James

    I have to miss this hike too for the Mother day and will be hiking 10 peaks including Mt. Baldy tonight.

    May 9

  • larry

    I hate to miss this hike but I am going to have to. I have made a previous commitment to the Women's
    Shelter on Skid Row and I just received notice that they need my help for Mothers Day.

    2 · May 8

  • Jennifer

    I'd like to carpool with someone hiking in the 8am start time group. I live in woodland hills. I can drive or ride. PM me if you are interested. Thanks!

    May 5

    • Lesa M.

      Jennifer, I just posted a carpool message & see that you also are looking to carpool. Would you be interested in mtg somewhere & driving together? Thanks.

      May 5

    • Jennifer

      Let's look at it. Maybe we can meet close to the 118 or 210 somewhere. I don't know the area super well. Is there a spot to meet where a car could be left all day?

      May 6

  • Lesa M.

    I'd like to carpool for this one. I can either ride along or drive from Sherman Oaks. Thanks.

    April 11

    • Lesa M.

      Just checking back in to see if anyone wants to carpool to/from the hike start. I'm in Sherman Oaks, so can meet you part way or whatever might work best.

      May 5

  • Mike C.

    Hi Everyone: I have added a Nature Lover group starting at 7:30 am and led by Ledy. If you tend to slow down a bit to enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature, you should consider joining this group. If you have moderate to fast pace, you start with me at 8 am. .

    Staggered start is used to accommodate different paces. It is not appropriate for strong hikers to start early so as to warp it up quick. After all a hike is a social event, it is not a mad dash up and down a mountain. .

    At the end of the hike, I plan to take a 10 minute dip in the river to chill before leaving. This is how it works. I will take off my socks and shoes and jump in with everything on. You are welcome to join me if you like. .

    If your name is not on the Nature Lover list, but you like to join that group, please reply here. Thanks.

    4 · May 5

    • Irene G.

      Please put me on the Nature Lover list.

      May 5

    • Monica E

      Brad and I will join Ledy in the Nature Lover's Group. Last time was a special time of bonding between the Nature Lovers.

      May 5

  • Mike C.

    Ledy: Could you lead a Nature Lover group leaving at 7: 30 am?

    May 5

  • Jennifer

    Mike - I joined the wait list. Let me know if you will let me try this hike out. Thanks!

    May 4

  • Chary

    Sorry I will miss this. Full day with mom. Happy Mother's Day!!

    2 · April 30

  • A former member
    A former member

    Doing C2C w/Verdi on 5/10...think I'll give my knees a break. Enjoy the hike.

    1 · April 29

  • Irene G.

    I'm coming from the south bay if anyone would like to carpool.

    April 18

  • Tejinder

    I changed my RSVP to NO, I've decided to visit my Mom in SF for Mother's Day

    2 · April 18

  • Rimona

    Hi Mike, I'm confused, I thought Bridge to Nowhere was May 4. Do you're doing it on 4-11?

    March 26, 2014

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