Burnt Peak Trail is a 6.1 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Lake Hughes, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
Signal track out and back trail. 11 miles R/T with 3300' elevation gain. First 1.5-2.0 miles in fair condition then becomes badly over grown with a few washouts. This very strenuous trail goes from Maxwell Road to Fish Canyon.
we booked up the Forest road from Pike canyon road. The road and accompanying views are OK. Nothing to get hot and bothered over. There's an FAA station at the summit with some cool views. A normal hiker would be satisfied with this. But not my friend and I. We saw the mountain ridge and trail (it wasn't a trail) South of Burnt peak and said to ourselves, "we can hike that. We're strapping young lads. What could possibly go wrong?"
Oh so very, very, very much. There IS a trail up along that South ridge, but getting there is less than ideal. The over/under growth is nearly impenetrable. Nearly, but barely. We were forced to plunge through the bushes, leap over those God forsaken pricker bush things, and army crawl AT LENGTH to make headway. Why would we do this, you may ask. Because we are all that is man. And that nearly got us killed.
As we bludgeoned our way down the South side of Burnt peak, the sun set slowly in the West. Once we reached the valley below, we made our way up the other side. That side was much, much worse. Not only were we fighting the growth, those stupid pricker bushes, and scrambling rocks, but now we were fighting steep uphill. We pushed/crawled through one thicket after another, found what we thought was the trail (it was a wash out of very loose dirt and stone) just to be confronted by another thicket. But higher and higher we climbed, when finally we came upon the summit, whereupon the 'trail' turned to the left. We followed this, climbed up steep, loose hills just to go down again. There was eventually a trail, a few markers (pink ribbons on the bushes), and signs of other human life. And mountain lion life. So there was that.
When the sun set we were still about 9ish miles from the trailhead. We kept the Burnt peak summit to our left and presumed where we had to head. Alas! At last we emerged from the bumbling trail onto a forest road. We followed this for what seemed like forever as dusk turned to outright night. But we DID make our way back to the trailhead: 22 miles and 5600 calories later. We were sore, torn up, very bloody, and exhausted beyond belief. But alive, thank God. But as I sit here in incredible pain, I think back on that little detour and am incredibly impressed with ourselves, the unforgiving power of the Socal wilderness, and our incredible stupidity. But we learned am important lesson: stay on the damn trials! :)
There is a gated road from Sawmill Mt. Road/Maxwell Road intersection that leads to the top of Burnt Peak. This is a 5.2 mile out and back road with elevation gain of 1300'. Nice views. Just for fun bring along a copy of a foot print of a mountain lion. See if you can find a match in the road.
This is a 11 mile R/T signal track out and back trail with 3300' elevation gain. Goes from Maxwell Road to Fish Canyon Trail. The trail is in fair condition for the first 2 miles with nice views and mostly shaded trail. Will drop down to a seasonal creek. Becomes badly over grown with a few washouts.