Heaton Flat Trail to Iron Mountain is a 13 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Azusa, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Directions from Azusa, CA: Travel north on Highway 39 for about 12 miles, turn east (right) onto East Fork Road and travel 6 miles. Entry is from the East Fork Trailhead adjacent to East Fork Fire Station.
Great trail recon today up the Heaton Flat Trail to just beyond the Allison Mine Trail (except the last two miles). I started out from the parking lot at 0645. It was about 55'. At 2.5 miles in it climbed to 69'. I covered the 4.98 miles up in just under 3 hours. The first 3 miles were pretty easy. From mile 3 to 4 is where you just go up and down, and up and down. Take some elevation from the mountain and then give some back. Not too bad though. Mile 4 to 5 is where the challenge began. The 60 and 70 degree grades showed up. There was a little bit of scrambling up rock and dirt too. I stopped just before the saddle. My goal today was to hike to the Allison Mine Trail. It was 85' by this point. Spent about 45 minutes resting, eating and taking pictures. Then I headed down! The first mile down is a slow process. At mile 7.86 the temp was 100'. By the time I got to mile 3 going down, I felt great and was moving at a pretty good pace. Not smart! Just under 2 miles and past the wilderness sign, I slipped and rolled my ankle. Needless to say I slowed way down. I waited to ice and wrap it until I got back to the car because I didn't want linger and let it get stiff. Yes I carry a wrap and ice with me on all hikes. Second time in a month I've had to use them too. Once for me (today) and once for a young lady who twisted her ankle coming down San Jacinto. Anyway, my total time for the hike (including breaks, lunch and pictures was 6 hrs 50 min. Total hiking time was 5 hrs 42 min. It was 95' when I finished at 1335. I'm guessing the final 2 miles to the peak would have taken about an hour each and have about a 2500 foot elevation gain. I carried 6.5 liters of water and drank 3.5 liters. Two of those were 16oz bottles with electrolytes. Glad I hiked it, but hoping I'll be ready and healed for Oct 8 when I go to the top of Iron Mountain with a fellow hiker.
This trail is a BEAST!! There's a reason you don't see a lot of reviews. Not too many people attempt, nor finish. I hiked up in April started early and took me all day to complete. Finished about 7L of fluids and wanted more. .. The total elevation gain is a bit north of 7K... don't let the false summits fool you.. Also bring a pen to sign the log at the summit..
This is considered the most difficult hiking trail of all the San Gabriel mountains according to some hiking books.
When they say this hike is difficult, they are understating it. This is a very tough hike.
We started at 6AM and got to the saddle by 8:30. Rested up, cached water and electrolytes and psyched ourselves up for the rest of the hike. The saddle is about halfway, but almost all of the gain is ahead of you.
We took off at 9 and summited at 1:30. Steep does not do it justice. It is up and up and up, except for the heartbreaking downhill parts. It hurts to give up every hard earned foot.
I tried this 3 weeks before solo and turned back because I was already an hour past my drop dead turn around time. When I summited yesterday I could have kicked myself when I saw how close I had been, if I had had the energy to kick myself.
The descent was not quite as slow as the ascent, but just as painful. It is steep and loose and rocky. Poles are a great help.
Plan on this hike taking at least half a day, 12 hrs. The distance isn't that great, but it is tougher than it appears on paper. But I'm a fat old man, your mileage may vary.
Take plenty of water. I carried 12 liters and stashed 5 at the saddle, my hiking companion took 4 liters and used 2 liters of mine. We came down from the summit almost empty and left 3 liters for the next people that get caught short. It is a hot, thirsty, dry hike, stay hydrated. It's a lot of weight, but you can drop some at the saddle and leave it if you don't need it on the way back for the poor soul who gets caught short.
If you think you're up to it go for it, but it ain't easy. I'm battered,bloodied and bruised, but mighty pleased. I'll be back when the memory of how tough it is fades
This hike is difficult! Much harder than I was expecting. It starts out pretty calm but after a few miles it just starts getting steeper and steeper until you are standing there panting like a dog trying to figure out how in the world you are going to get up the next nearly vertical section of loose dirt and gravel. Be prepared for heat of you go in the spring or summer and take plenty of water. We ended up leaving a stash of water for our return trip so we didn't have to carry it up the steepest sections of the mountain. This was a good move. Get an early start. We took our time and took some long breaks along the way, but we were out there an hour before sunrise and didn't have much daylight left by the time we got back to the car. The whole time we were on the trail we never saw another person. If you're looking for a way to get away from civilization this is it. Take plenty of bug spray! The Mosquitos are as big as the crows and they are thick on every part of the trail.
Very few people on the trail. We hit the snowline.
Very difficult hike, over 6,000 feet of elevation change. Best if hiked on a cool day as much of the hike is spent following a ridgeline. There is no water on this trail. Some hikers left water bottles along the side of the trail for use on the return.
Hiked to Iron Mountain twice over the last several years. This should be rated a double black diamond due to the elevation gain of 6K feet. Last time we hiked we saw 2 baby rattlers on the upper portion of the trail. It is likely you will be alone on this trail and should be prepared accordingly. We did not use poles. As to a previous poster, there are NOT many things to do on this trail, his comment should have been placed in the East Fork section and not Iron Mountain. There are no mines, swimming, or fishing on this trail, so don't bring your swimsuit.
Very strenuous and difficult hike. Seems like it is straight up sometimes. Poles really helped..It is a great challenge. The first half is moderate and a lot of up and down.The views are awesome
We took the Sheep Mountain Wilderness trail. Moderate incline with switch-backs all the way up. The trail seemed a little overgrown but still clear enough. Not many other hikers on the trail despite it being such a gorgeous day. I would hike it again for sure and maybe venture further.
Difficult climb. More of a work out but the scenes are good. I started at East Fork and not really sure how far I made. Turned around being it was getting dark and almost made the snow line. Not one person on this trail but everybody that is parked along the road heads over to The Bridge to Nowhere.
Amazing hike. Very challenging, extremely steep and has great views. You will need plenty of water. Strongly recommend hiking poles for balance on the return. Trail is not used by a lot of hikers so if you like to hike alone, this one is definitely for you.
Awesome hike and lots of fun activities to do up there like: Fishing, hiking, swimming, Gold panning, Billy"William" Heaton had a mine place up there from the late 1800's til early 1900's research Sedley Peck, his grandson and learn about our areas early history, also research Roger Dalton take a trip to A. P. U. Library and ask to see the Roger Dalton collection, and you will be put back into time when the Azusa canyon was young. Guy F.