Past Meetup

Mount Wilson from Sierra Madre. 15 miles / 4700 gain

This Meetup is past

4 people went

Old Mount Wilson Trail

189 east monte ave · Sierra Madre , CA

How to find us

Meet at small park where restrooms are located. I'll be wearing a light-blue bandanna.

Location image of event venue

Details

Hike Mt. Wilson from Sierra Madre 15 miles /4,700' gain

When parking on local streets "turn your tires into the curb" to avoid a parking ticket. Others have gotten them.

Distance: ~15 miles RT

Elevation Gain: ~4,700'

Duration: ~6 hours

Difficulty: Moderately Strenuous for Intermediate hikers

Restrooms: Yes, at trailhead park.

Bring: 3-4 liters of water/electrolytes, snacks, lunch, boots, clothing layers for weather, wind breaker. 10 essentials. The Cafe will be closed, but running water is usually running. Bathrooms at summit may or may not be open. In December they were closed.

Waiver: Please note that you agree to pay for any medical or legal cost involved in case of an injury to yourself, and request your heirs to respect your agreed waiver in case of a death due to any reason, by signing up for this event.

Weather: http://forecast.weather.gov/MapClick.php?lon=-118.06978&lat=34.22426#.VIX9ONLF98E

Hike description: This trailhead (elev. 970’) affords direct access to the magnificent Little Santa Anita Canyon which juts into the San Gabriel front range just above the foothill town of Sierra Madre.

The beautiful Mt. Wilson Trail winds steeply up the west side of the canyon crossing over the head of the canyon before reaching the 5,715 foot summit of Mt. Wilson, 7 miles from its start.

The Mt. Wilson Trail has a lengthy history. Hundreds of years ago, it was a trail used by the Gabrielino Indians to access the San Gabriel Mountains and even beyond into the Mojave Desert.

At one idyllic glen near the canyon bottom, now known as Orchard Camp, an acorn sprouted about 500 years ago right above the creek bed giving life to what is seen today as a giant oak. For the hiker, Orchard Camp is a verdant and shady rest spot on the way to Mt. Wilson.

Just a mile from the trailhead, the hiker encounters jaw-dropping views of the canyon scouring deep into the mountain. Looking over the trail’s edge to hundreds of feet of precipice below, it is hard to believe that you are not even at 2,000 feet elevation at this point. Most times of the year, you can hear and see some of the many waterfalls that tumble down the canyon bottom.

At 1.5 miles, you will reach First Water Junction. Going right will take down into the creek. The main trail continues to the left.

At 2.5 miles, you reach the turn-off for a connector trail that takes you to the ridge north of Jones Peak. The turn-off is intermittently marked by a small wooden sign. If you elect this option, go left off the trail into a streambed and you will find the connector about 100 yards up the streambed.

At about 3.2 miles, you will reach Orchard Camp.

At about 5 miles you will reach the Manzanita Ridge where there is a junction with the Winter Creek Trail coming from Chantry Flat. Going left, the trail turns connects with the Mt. Wilson Toll Road in ½ mile. Follow the toll road north another ½ mile until it connects again with the Mt. Wilson Trail on the right. Follow the trail .7 miles to the summit of Mt. Wilson.

History of trail:

The Mount Wilson trail is a throwback to a bygone era. The trail’s history begins with The Gabrielino Indians, who were believed to have trekked through the area in search of acorns and wild game. The trail was officially constructed under the direction of Benjamin Wilson in 1864. The purpose at that time was to transport lumber from what was later named “Mt. Wilson”. The trail was later (1889) used to transport the first of many telescopes to the mountaintop. The second telescope was carried up the trail and assembled atop Mount Wilson. The second telescope facilitated widening of the trail, similar to what exists today.

Orchard Camp was constructed in 1864 as a construction camp for laborers. Around 1890 the camp was converted to a trail resort. It was immensely popular throughout most of it’s 50 years of operation. 1911 was a peak year with 40,000 persons signing the register.

Those days are gone now but, you can still see the remains of Orchard camp. The site was abandoned in 1940. All that remains are stone foundations. The biggest attraction is the 1,500 year old Canyon Oak, looming above the site.

Waiver: Please note that you agree to pay for any medical or legal cost involved in case of an injury to yourself, and request your heirs to respect your agreed waiver in case of a death due to any reason, by signing up for this event.

Driving Directions:

The Mt. Wilson Trail trailhead is located within the city limits of Sierra Madre. From the 210 Freeway, exit Baldwin Ave. and go north. When you come to a traffic light where you have to go either right or left, go left to the next light and that is Baldwin Ave. Take a right and continue up Baldwin Ave. through the downtown area of Sierra Madre. Approximately ¾ of a mile from the downtown plaza, take a right on Mira Monte. Go down about 1/3 mile and you will come to a small park on your left. Park anywhere in this area along Mira Monte. To get to the trail, walk up the paved Mt. Wilson Road next to the park.

Red Tape:

Because the trailhead is within the city limits of Sierra Madre, no forest service parking pass is required. Note that the local police are particular about curbing your wheels so don’t risk a ticket.

Waiver: Please note that you agree to pay for any medical or legal cost involved in case of an injury to yourself, and request your heirs to respect your agreed waiver in case of a death due to any reason, by signing up for this event.