Mount Wilson Peak is a moderate to heavily trafficked trail over 5,500 feet in elevation in the Los Angeles Area. In 2018 one of my hiking goals is to complete the So Cal Six Pack Of Peaks Challenge). I recently got started with my first peak by completing the grueling 13.1 mile hike up to Mount Wilson Observatory in the Angeles National Forest.
Hiking Mount Wilson Observatory Trail Via Chantry Flat
Completing the Six Pack Of Peaks in Southern California is my hiking goal for 2018. The challenge encompasses six of some of the highest peaks in Southern California. You can find out more about the challenge here. Prior to the challenge I did a training run up Mount Baden-Powell which is an alternate peak for those not wanting to do Mount Wilson.
The hike up into Mount Wilson is a beautiful trail approximately 13.1 miles in length. The Mount Wilson Observatory trail can take anywhere from 5-8 hours depending on your skill level. The hike starts out at Chantry Flat Recreation area in Sierra Madre, California. The hike then takes you through the Angeles National Forest up an elevation gain of about 4,373 feet to a total elevation of 5,784 feet. The view from the top of Mount Wilson looks down on the greater Los Angeles area. While looking down on the greater Los Angeles area or nearby peaks of the Angeles National Forest are several great spots to sit down and enjoy a nice picnic. It’s also nice to sit up there and think about how people can drive to the same spot that you just hiked up. But, where is the challenge in that?
Do you have any updates to the hiking trail or want to share your hike/pictures? Please leave a comment below.
Mount Wilson Peak Quick Facts:
Open in maps. Because you can drive to the top of Mount Wilson, be careful to not let the driving directions take you to the top. The trail head to Mount Wilson via Chantry Flat is located in Big Santa Anita Canyon with the same trail head for Sturtevent Falls. There is a small parking lot that fills up very early. If the parking lot is full, you’ll have to find street parking on the windy road somewhere. Don’t forget, an adventure pass is required. An America The Beautiful pass will also work.
Mount Wilson Peak via Chantry Flat Pictures:
Who Mount Wilson Trail Is For:
Novice Hikers: You might want to spend some time working up to this. I consider myself a moderate to advanced moderate hiker and this trail was tiring for me. If you’re new to hiking or working out in general, go with someone experienced, pack plenty of food and water, and go at your own pace. For those with any, medical problems or physical disabilities, please use discretion.
Advanced Hikers: This hike will be a fun challenge and the persistent switchbacks and elevation gain will be a nice leg burner.
Expert Hikers: This will also be a fun challenge and a great workout.
It’s always a good idea to be aware of what type of hiking level you’re at.
Best Time Of Year To Hike Mount Wilson Peak:
Keep an eye out for excessively hot summer days and avoid the trail on those days. Mount Wilson isn’t exceptionally high but sometimes winter storms can drop the snow level down below 4,000 feet. Unless you’re prepared for a snow hike, avoid it on those days. Dress warm on the colder winter months. Otherwise, your best bet is fall through early summer. Plan appropriately for weather conditions.
Mount Wilson Trail Conditions:
I’ve read from other sites that the trail via Chantry Flat can have some overgrowth, but that wasn’t my experience. The trail was made up of mostly dirt and very well maintained. The bottom of the trail runs through a Canyon with a stream that takes you up through several short man made waterfalls as well as Sturtevant Falls. Once at Sturtevant waterfall the trail goes through a very long elevation gain made up of mostly switchbacks until the observatory. As the trail gets into the higher elevations the dirt trail gives way to some rocks on the trail but it’s not too bad. At the top where the observatory is located the walking path is paved until the trail heads back down. Most of the trial keeps you shaded from the sun by the pine trees in the higher elevations and by large oak trees in the lower elevation. Keep an eye out for poison oak.
Keep an eye out for poison oak. Don’t bring any less than two liters of water and bring enough food to fuel you through thirteen miles. I had a sandwich, cliff bar, beef jerky, and an apple.