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** Note: Rain falling at trailhead at start of hike cancels it**

Saturday May 7, 2016 - Sierra Madre to Orchard Camp

Distance: 9 miles, In and Out

Gain: ~ 2000 - 2200'

Duration: 4 - 5 hours

Rating: Moderate / Strenuous, due to substantial elevation gain. Suitable for experienced hikers in good physical condition.


Following an old Indian trail, Benjamin Wilson built a trail in an effort to obtain timber from the top of what is now called Mt. Wilson. Harvard University telescope was carried up this trail to occupy the first observatory on Mt. Wilson. As the trail, and later the observatory, was being built a construction camp was built in a secluded glen called Halfway House. After the observatory was built Halfway House was homesteaded by two mountaineers named George Aiken and George Islip. They planted a small grove of apple, cherry, plum and chestnut trees and the location became known as Orchard Camp.

Later Orchard Camp became a trail resort for 50 years. Today the buildings and tents are gone, but the enchanting stream side spot still holds appeal for day hikers. Our hike will follow this historic footpath from Sierra Madre to Orchard Camp and back.

Information about the trail: Our hike starts at the junction of Mira Monte Avenue and Mt. Wilson Trail Drive a private road in Sierra Madre. We will walk a short distance up Mt. Wilson Trail Drive and turn left onto a well marked trail. In a short distance the trail becomes a dirt road and later a single track trail. The first 1.5 miles are in the sun and steep, a great workout. Then we come upon a trail junction, we go straight until after a short distance we stop for a rest at Quarterway House or First Water as it was once called. In a short distance we will welcome the shade of a live-oak forest and a enjoyable hike from Quarterway House to Orchard Camp.

NOTE: Remember we are climbing a mountain so there are drop offs on the downhill side of the trail. If heights or drop offs are an issue for you, you may want to give this hike a miss.

Carpooling from Santa Clarita Valley:

Meet in the front parking lot at Towsley Canyon in the front parking lot at 7:30 AM for a 7:40AM SHARP departure, arrangements for carpooling will be made there.

The hike leader will meet you at the meeting spot at 08:30 A.M.

Please be respectful of your driver's support by contributing something at the end of your carpool to help defray the cost of gas.

Directions to the meeting spot/trail head: From the 5 Freeway take the 210 FRWY East. In Arcidia, exit the 210 at Baldwin Ave and drive 1.5 miles towards the mountains. Turn right on Mira Monte Ave. Go two blocks east on Mira Monte until you reach the intersection with Mount Wilson Trail Drive. Park on the street, and meet your leader at 8:30AM, at Lizzie's House (Museum), located at this intersection.

Hike Leader Notes: There are no restrooms at trail head but there is a park with restrooms close to Lizzie's House. This is a popular trail, so allow time to park and walk to Lizzie's House to meet your leader.

Bring: Lots of water (2-3L), some Electrolytes like Gatorade, a hat, sunscreen, a snack and hiking poles if you have them. Good shoes with tread are a must - no flip flops or tennis shoes please. Bring a BUG NET just in case.

Adventure Pass: N/A, not required

Dogs: OK, if on a leash and well-behaved with other dogs / people carrying poles. If you bring your dog, please drive yourself.

Leader: Dave