Text and photography copyright 2011 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
- Location: Angeles National Forest. From I-210 in La Canada, take the Angeles Crest Highway (route 2) northeast for 45 miles to Dawson Gap. Park on the north side of the road, at a turnout near mile marker 69.6. From I-15, head west on Highway 138 for 8.6 miles. Turn left on the Angeles Crest Highway and drive 19.2 miles to Dawson Gap. A National Forest Service Adventure Pass ($5 per day or $30 for the year) is required for parking here. Click here to purchase.
- Agency: Angeles National Forest/Los Angeles River Ranger District
- Distance: 4.5 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,250 feet
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Difficulty rating: PG-13 (Altitude, steepness, elevation gain)
- Best season: May – October (road closed during the rest of the year)
- USGS topo map: Crystal Lake
- Recommended gear: hiking poles
- More information: here; here
- Rating: 9
Throop Peak, checking in at an impressive 9,138 feet, is one of the tallest summits in the San Gabriels. While it might not quite have the name recognition of nearby Baldy or Baden-Powell, it’s one that no So Cal hiker should miss. The views from the summit, and on the way up, are spectacular. While the hike is short, its difficulty shouldn’t be underestimated, especially for people who are sensitive to high altitude. Its starting point of 7,900 feet is one of the highest in So Cal.
From the parking area, look for a big brown sign indicating the Dawson Saddle Trail. Follow the highway west for a few yards and pick up the trail on the south side of the road. You begin making some switchbacks, up past the sign and into the woods.
Soon you emerge on a ridge, where the views include Mt. Baden-Powell to the east and the high desert to the west. There is a good amount of shade on the trail from the pines as you make your way up the north side of the mountain.
At 1.8 miles, you reach a junction with the Pacific Crest Trail. Head right (southwest) and almost immediately, take another right on an obscure trail that heads toward the Throop summit. This last stretch is quite steep and will probably have even veteran hikers stopping to catch their breath,but before long you arrive at the top.
The view from Throop includes downtown L.A., the Santa Ana Mountains, Mt. Baldy, Baden-Powell, the high desert, and more on clear days. There are several logs and boulders on which you can take a well-earned rest and enjoy the views before heading back down.
By the way, in case you were wondering, this mountain is named for Amos G. Throop, founder of Throop University – now known as Cal Tech.