Jones Peak

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Looking east from the summit of Jones Peak
Climbing the switchbacks on the way to Jones Peak

 Jones Peak

      • Location: Bailey Canyon Park, 451 W. Carter Ave, Sierra Madre.  From points west, take I-210 to Michillinda Ave.  Turn left and go north for 0.9 miles and turn right on Sierra Madre Blvd.  Go 0.5 miles and turn left on Lima.  Go 0.6 miles, bear left onto Carter Ave and turn right into the park.  From points east, take I-210 to Baldwin Ave.  Turn right and head north for 1.9 miles to Carter Ave.  Turn left and go 0.5 miles to the parking lot.  Parking is free and there are restrooms at the trailhead.
      • Agency: City of Sierra Madre/Bailey Canyon Park (phone 626-355-5278)
      • Distance: 6.6 miles
      • Elevation gain: 2,300 feet
      • Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Steepness, elevation gain, terrain)
      • Suggested time: 3.5 hours
      • Best season:  October – May
      • USGS topo map:  Mt. Wilson
      • Recommended gear: hiking poles; sunblock; sun hat
      • Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
      • More information:  here; looping route described here; Everytrail report here
      • Rating: 8
Beginning of the trail at Bailey Canyon Park (click pictures to see the full sized version)

This hike climbs in a businesslike manner from suburban Bailey Canyon Park to Jones Peak, rising almost half a vertical mile. From the summit, clear-day views include the ocean, the Hollywood Hills, the Santa Ana Mountains, Catalina Island, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. Even if visibility to the south is poor, the dramatic views of Mt. Wilson and Mt. Harvard from the summit are worth the effort. And yes, there is effort involved.

0:02 (Times are approximate) “Ticket please!”

Fortunately, you don’t have to go all the way to Jones Peak to experience some nice views. If you’re not up for doing the whole thing, just going part way can be an enjoyable way to get some exercise. The trail is uber-convenient to the San Gabriel Valley, and not that far from downtown L.A.

0:06 – Leaving the service road and heading up into Bailey Canyon on the single-track

From Bailey Canyon Park, follow the trail to the service road, turn right, and continue toward where the single-track bears left and heads up into the mountains. You follow the path to the turnoff for the waterfall, but go right instead of left. You begin a steep series of switchbacks, rising almost vertically out of the canyon. At 0.7 miles from the start, a short spur leads to a bench where you can take a breather and enjoy the view.

0:11 – Turnoff for the waterfall (go right)

The trail continues its exposed, steep ascent, following a ridge for a little while. At two miles, the grade levels out and dips into a shady grove, where a short spur to the left leads to the ruins of an old cabin. This is a nice place to rest before the final steep push to the summit.

0:20 – View from the bench

From the ruins, you climb out of the shade on a series of tight, steep switchbacks–which may test the morale of even veteran hikers (such as the author). Finally, at about three miles, the grade mellows and you reach a saddle. Don’t let the steep fire break to the left intimidate you; the route to Jones is to the right. A short but steep climb up a well worn (loose in spots) path brings you to the summit. Here, a few rocks provide a place to relax before beginning the descent – which, given its steepness, should not be taken lightly.

1:13 – Cabin ruins

I have to give a special shout-out to the hikers of Jones Peak who voluntarily come up and clear brush and perform maintenance. On both visits here (once to the summit, once as far as the ruins) I’ve noticed people working on the trails. Thank you for making Jones Peak a better place.

1:40 – At the saddle (turn right)

Text and photography copyright 2012 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. By

1:42 – Almost there!

reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or

1:45 – View of Mt. Harvard and the Mt. Wilson Observatory from the summit of Jones Peak

inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.


  1. I did this hike in July 2011. Had my closest-ever encounter with a rattlesnake on one of those tight, steep switchbacks – somehow I stepped right over him without seeing him. Then he let me know that he was there.

  2. I could not for the life of me find those cabin ruins when I visited on a hot afternoon this summer. And unfortunately I was with a less experienced hiker who couldn’t make it to the top so we had to turn back. I plan to return on a cooler day!

    1. They’re about 2+ miles up, when the trail enters an oak grove. There’s a short spur leading downhill to the left that leads to them.

  3. Did this 3.9.20 – managed to make it a 5+ hour, 3200′, 9 mile hike by adding Hastings Peak and doing the loop, walking the mile back from the beginning of the Mt. Wilson trail to Bailey Canyon park. Very much enjoyed it on a not-too-hot day. The short trail to the top is exceedingly well-traveled and maintained, as you suggest – as long as you don’t take the first scramble up. The connector trail to the Mt. Wilson Trail – about .2 farther up from where the use trail up to Jones starts is very well marked (2 signs in fact) and well-maintained. Yes, steep, but doable (with lug soles, and a pole helps). The trail to Hastings Peak is wide open, well-traveled, and through a kind of meadow of chapparel which was lovely even not in bloom. Views spectacular. A very new bench dedicated to a baby who lived 28 hours (along with a pink teddy bear – which we put in a sealed plastic bag because rains were coming). It was nice enough on Hastings (Jones also has a bench) that we spent 30 minutes there. We always like a loop. Clearly a lot of maintenance goin on on the Mt Wilson trail also – which needs it. The newer Charlie trail off that was also in much better shape than a few yeas ago. Our 3rd time up Jones, 1st time up Hastings. Very nice for a front-of-the-range, easy-to-get-to-trailhead hike.

    1. Glad you had a fun trip and that you got to check out Hastings. Sad to hear about the little baby though.

  4. This is a fine, harder, alternative to Echo Mountain, climbing 700 ft/mile to the top. On a whim I counted the switchbacks on the descent, and there are 69 of them (nice) with 45 coming between the cabin and the peak. As a result this is an excellent training hike, too, with an added bonus of no mountain bikers. A true butt-kicker, even given its tame total length.

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