As seen in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. guidebook!
Text and photography copyright 2010 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: Vincent Gap, Angeles National Forest. The large parking lot is on the south side of the Angeles Crest Highway, 15 miles east of Highway 138, 8.7 miles east of Wrightwood, 5.2 miles east of Big Pines and 53 miles west of La Canada. Check road conditions before visiting. A National Forest Service adventure pass ($5 per day or $30 per year) is required. Click here to purchase.
- Agency: Angeles National Forest/San Gabriel River Ranger District
- Distance: 8 miles (out and back)
- Elevation gain: 2,800 feet
- Suggested time: 4.5 hours
- Difficulty rating: R (altitude, elevation gain)
- Best season: March – October
- USGS topo map: “Crystal Lake”, “Mount San Antonio”
- Reccomended gear: Hiking Poles
- More information: Trip descriptions here, here, here and here
- Rating: 9
Mt. Baden-Powell, at 9,399 feet, is the fourth tallest, and probably second most famous, peak in the San Gabriels. It doesn’t quite have the wide-ranging views of its more famous neighbor to the southeast–nor the bragging rights that come with bagging Mt. Baldy–but it does offer a great training workout for higher summits, and there are some nice vistas from the peak.
Most of the work is done on the Pacific Crest Trail, which leaves the Vincent Gap parking lot and doesn’t waste any time climbing. (The trail pretty consistently gains 700 feet per mile). There are 42 switchbacks, and depending on which one you are on, you will get views of the desert to the north or Mt. Baldy to the east. Altitude markers help give a sense of progress.
Near the top, the trees start thinning out and the trail reaches a saddle, continuing west while a signed spur leads the last hundred or so yards to the summit. The views from the top include Baldy, the rest of the Angeles National Forest, Orange County, and on clear days, the ocean. There is also a large monument to Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts. The famous Silver Moccasin trail climbs 53 miles from Chantry Flats and ends up here on the summit.