Past Meetup

Into the Danger Zone - Iron Mountain

This Meetup is past

6 people went

Location image of event venue






Organizer: Mike Cheng

Location: Azusa, CA

Hike difficulty: Level 10/10

Distance: 14.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 7000'

Time: 9-11 hours (If you need more than 11 hours, you will not be joining us.)

Summit time: 11:00 am - 12:15 pm

Mandatory turnaround time: 12:45 pm

Regardless of where you are on the trail, you must turn around and head downhill by 12:45 pm. If you have not yet reached the summit, you are not going to make it this time. You must turn around.

By signing up to this hike, you agree to abide by this rule. If this is not acceptable to you, please join a different event.

Weather report: Iron Mountain weather forecast (

Toilette: At trail head


What to Bring:

Hat, hiking poles, watch, headlamp, sunscreen, energy bar, lunch, snacks, water and first aid kit. (You are required to have a first aid kit.)

What to wear: long pants, hiking shoes with good traction

Water: You must carry a minimum of 4 liters.

Please use organizer's personal water consumption as a reference in determining the amount of water you need.

From trailhead to Allison Saddle: 1.25 - 1.50 liters

From Allison Saddle to summit (out and back): 2.50 - 2.75 liters

From Allison Saddle to trailhead: 1.25 - 1.50 liters

(The organizer is 5'10" tall and weigh 167 lb. I need 4.5 litters for a 70-75 degree day hike. If you are bigger than me or the temperature is hotter than 75 degree, you will need to bring more water.)


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.


Please Chip In:

US Hiking is a social group for hikers. Our events are organized like house parties. Like a regular house party, it costs money to host one. It is customary for guests to help out any way they can to lessen burden on the host. That is the same for hikes. You can bring food, provide carpool or chip in to help out.

Suggested Event Contribution: $ 10 (Chip in link) (


Trail condition: mostly single file trail, no shade

The trail to Iron Mountain are actually 2 parts: from the trail head to Allison Saddle with 800'/mile elevation gain on average (9 miles), and then from Allison Saddle to the Iron Mountain Peak, 1200'/mile elevation gain (5.5 miles).

Certain short segments of the 1st part are steep with 50-60 % grade. However, these steep segments are generally short, less than 20 yards, so it is usually not a problem. In my opinion, this part of the hike is normal.

The 2nd part of the hike, from Allison Saddle to the peak, is just the opposite. It is very steep and extremely dangerous.

Out of the 2.75 miles of uphill hike, 1.75 miles of this trail has 50-70 % grade. 1 out of the 1.75 miles has 70 % grade and at the same time the trail has a base of loose sand and rocks. When you step on it, it gives immediately. Many have said that it is too slippery and not passable.

You will slip and fall 5-7 times along the way. If you are strong and lucky, you will go home safe. If not, you will be seriously injured or die.


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 Gabriel....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.

This group, 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 this 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: