Time: 6-7 hours round trip
Rating: Class 1, strenuous
Heading up to Rattlesnake Peak which is one of the smaller peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains elevation wise, but it's one of the tougher ones as far as hiking difficulty. It's a strenuous hike with thick brush if you stray off trail and hot dry terrain. It's well worth the effort though. Given a nice cool day, this is an enjoyable hike with great views and a good trail that follows an exposed ridge passing a number of small bumps along the way. The feel is much the same as on the lower parts of Rattlesnakes bigger neighbor Iron Mountain (http://www.summitpost.org/show/mountain_link.pl/mountain_id/964) which dominates the view to the east.
BTW, This peak doesn't have rattlesnakes slithering all over it. There are rattlers there, but not any more than on surrounding peaks. They are common in the summer, and seem to be most active on warm afternoons, but also watch for them on sunny eastern slopes in the morning. The name was used at least as far back as 1901, when it first appeared on the USGS list.
From Interstate 210 in Azusa (41 miles east of L.A.) take the Azusa Avenue exit (hwy 39) and go north 12 miles to East Fork Road. Turn right and go 3.3 miles to Shoemaker Road, turn left and go a couple miles to the locked gate at the end of the paved road. Park near the gate.
Shoemaker Road was originally intended to be an escape route from the Los Angeles area in case of nuclear attack. It was begun in the early days of the Cold War. It was soon abandoned as it was too expensive and a poor idea.
What to Bring:
Poles (Not needed, but recommended for the steep downhills)
Layers of Clothing (Might be cooler in the morning)
A BIG heart for Success
and more Water!!!
A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for parking at the trailhead.
My hikes are for the strong at heart and will be moving at a good pace. There will not be a sweeper and you are ultimately responsible for yourselves. I'm only here to lead you in the right direction, so please know your limits as this hike is a butt-kicker!!!