Orchard Camp via Mt Wilson Trail is a 6.7 mile out and back trail located near Sierra Madre, CA that features beautiful wild flowers. The trail is rated as moderate offers a number of activity options. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
The first half of the trail to Mount Wilson, an old camp used by Mr Wilson himself. The trail was originally built by Benjamin Davis Wilson, who was the grandfather of General George S. Patton around 1852. The trail followed an old Indian trail and as legend has it, was used by the Spaniards to hunt for Grizzly Bears. Ben Wilson wanted to find better wood on the mountain, but was unable to locate any so the trail reverted to a popular tourist attraction for hikers. Hikers would set signal fires at the summit to let other know they had arrived safely. In 1864 Ben Wilson expanded the trail with the help of Mexican and Chinese laborers. Orchard Camp is the halfway point to Mount Wilson and while it's three room building not longer exists, a wall and stone steps remain to this day, making a great place to stop and have lunch before returning to the trail head for those not eager to make the 14 mile round trip all the way to the summit of Mount Wilson.
On Saturday July 23, 2016 at 5:30 am I started my hike around 7:am I arrived at ORCHID CAMP. it was very quiet and I was tired because of pain in my leg muscles I decided to rest and eat some boiled eggs I had with me. It took about 5 minutes and I saw a hiker and talked to him and he said is continuing his hiking. I looked at the path was uphill and I decided to go back, as soon as I got to the big fallen tree around 75 feet away there was a big BROWN BEAR looking at me, The bear started coming toward me I was scared did not know what to do but I decided to yell and scream at him. I was lucky because the way the area was located my voice was echoed and seemed I am very large and raised my walking stick. at one point I was thinking this is it and I am going to be eaten by the BROWN BEAR. because of my voice was echoed that saved me and the bear went to the upper path hid behind the bushes. I decided to come back and all the way I told all the other hikers about my encounter with the BROWN BEAR. On the way back I was making more noise than before because I was alone.
My biggest lesson was do not ever go alone in the hike again and be prepared in case of it happens again.