Past Meetup

Five Peaks Hike to Mount Baden-Powell

This Meetup is past

15 people went


Hike Organizer: Paul Kemp

Location: Angeles National Forest

Hike Difficulty: Strenuous, 7.5/10

Distance: 14.5 miles approx.

Elevation Gain: 4,800 feet

Time: 8-9 hours

This is a strenuous hike, NOT for beginners - over 14 miles with almost 5,000 feet elevation gain is a long way if you haven't been hiking for a while, or you have only been hiking short distances from your couch to the refrigerator, and back! Please be honest with yourself about your own limitations before signing up.

OVERVIEW: From the Vincent Gap Parking Lot (mile marker 74.8) we will shuttle to Islip Saddle (mile marker 64.10) to begin the one-way hike to Baden-Powell, via Mounts Islip, Mount Hawkins, Throop Peak, and Mount Burnham, and then descend to the cars left at at Vincent Gap. The trail, which includes a section of the Pacific Crest Trail, offers spectacular panoramic views of the Mojave Desert to the north and the southern side of the San Gabriels to the south.


For many years Mount Baden-Powell (9407') was known as North Baldy. It was renamed in 1931 after a British Army officer with far too many names, Lord Robert Stevenson Smyth Baden-Powell, who had founded the Boy Scout movement in 1907. The official dedication of the new name took place on May 30, 1931, when a large party of Los Angeles area Boy Scouts erected a plaque and flagpole on the summit. The dedication was remarkable in that it remains the longest in Boy Scout history: by the time the group reached the summit nobody could remember the full, long-winded name of Baden-Powell so a small party had to go back to Baloo's house in downtown Los Angeles to find the piece of paper with the full name written on it. Suffice to say, it turned out to be a long day for the boys, made worse by the fact that the hapless group was stalked and harassed by a pack of hungry chipmunks on the way back.

Mount Burnham (9001') is one of the highest peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains. It is named for Frederick Russell Burnham, the famous American military scout who taught scoutcraft (then known as woodcraft) to Robert Baden-Powell and became one of the inspirations for the founding of the Boy Scouts. Mount Burnham was officially recognized by the USGS at a dedication ceremony in 1951. Its original designation was (West Twin) "North Baldy Mountain."

Throop Peak (9138') is the second highest summit in the group which stretches from Vincent Gap to Islip Saddle. The summit offers an impressive 360-degree view, which includes Mt Baldy and Mt Baden-Powell, the Mojave Desert, and on clear days, even the Pacific Ocean.

Mount Hawkins (8854') is named by the USFS for Nellie Hawkins, a very popular waitress at the rustic "Squirrel Inn" at nearby Crystal Lake (1901-06). It is rumored that "she charmed and attracted miners, hunters, campers - just about every mountain man for miles around." Whatever happened to charming Nellie in later years is a mystery, although one story says that she was adopted by a family of beavers and lived the rest of her life gnawing at wood and building dams.

Mount Islip (8250') is named for George Islip, an early mountain pioneer who homesteaded in San Gabriel Canyon in the 1880s. It's cone-shaped summit stands apart from the other peaks of the mountain backbone, offering an unusually fine panorama over the heart of the San Gabriels.

DIRECTIONS: Drive to Vincent Gap on Highway 2 (Angeles Crest Highway), approximately 53 miles east of La Canada, or 5 1/2 miles west of Big Pines. The parking area is on the south side of the highway close to the trailhead.

A carpool location is designated at Monrovia Park and Ride, on Myrtle Avenue just south of the 210 freeway, at 7 am. The route from here will be the 210 east to the I-15 north to Highway 138 north to Angeles Crest Highway eastern end. Those living closer to La Canada may want to consider taking Angeles Crest Highway from the west end (from the 210 west.

Nellie Hawkins and son/daughter before being adopted by a family of beavers.