Smith Mountain Trail is a 6.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Azusa, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from October until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
Though it's not the longest or tallest trail I've done, Smith Mountain is the most technically difficult. The first mile is a fairly steep incline followed by an easy 2 miles. Everything changes when you get to the saddle, though. The final 1/2 mile is a rugged and weaving scramble to the top. Some parts were nearly vertical, and it was slippery, as it had rained the day before. This trail must be blistering hot in the summer.
Awesome hike, especially if you go on a cloudy day because you get so high up that you're in the clouds! The very beginning was a little steep, then the majority of it was a very easy slight incline--totally do-able for a beginner. It's the last .5 mile that is CRAZY. To get to the top of the mountain, you have to do a pretty intense scramble at a very steep incline, but once you get to the top it's SO worth it! When we were halfway up the scramble, we started hitting some fog and the further we went up, the thicker it got. By the time we finally made it to the top, the clouds were surrounding us and were so thick that we couldn't see anything more than 20 ft. away from us. It was absolutely amazing and definitely worth the trip.
Tips: Bring lots of water, and make sure to save a lot for the scramble. What made the scramble do-able was that there's probably 4-5 flat spots where you can take a break, so be sure to utilize those moments to catch your breath and drink some water! Also, we went on a cold day so we brought gloves which ended up being great for the scramble, I think it would have sucked doing that bare-handed. Happy hiking!
The first 3 miles are pretty routine but great for trail running. Would term the last 1/2 mile up to Smith mountain a Class 2 scramble. Very fun - was socked in with some snow on the ground when my brother, myself and Finn the vizsla wonder dog made it to the top.
It's a great hike for beginners going to moderate.
Went at 6 am and there was no sing of anyone. The trai is pretty washed out at points before the final scramble up. It definitely needs some trail maintenance.
the last half mile is a definite scramble.
There are great views of the greater los angeles area and if you get it at the right time you won't see anyone.
Hard. Because we chose to clime shortcut, all ways full of tiny sands and rocks, huge rocks made trail easy to fall along. We had to use both hands to hold and support. I fell twice while we went downhills. It was sunny with a little shade. Please cover your face and neck with UV protection in case of sunburn.
Great hike with some seriously amazing views. Doesn't feel like a trail, feels more like you're trekking up a mountain. Some parts have some pretty sharp plants and you'll probably hear rattlesnakes, but hike on right?
Well maintained trail gradually ascending through a solitary "Bear Creek Trail" until reaching a saddle. Took a small break, enjoyed scenery, group picture, & proceeded the class 3 final ascent to Smith Mountain ( Headlee ). We saw snow covered West Baldy & Baldy, Mount Hawkins, Middle Hawkins,& South Hawkins, and some of Copter Ridge. I boiled water with my Jetboil & served Starbucks Via coffee & hot coco on the summit.
Just did this today. Pretty much exactly as described. Nice views. Hard scramble.
Nothing to add except that as I was climbing up that last .5 mile scramble I came face to face with a rattlesnake. It was steep enough that the snake was under a bush and my face was about 12 inches from his. He wanted as much to do with me as I did with him. I did manage to snap a picture after I quickly scrambled up a few notches and he went down, into another bush and stopped.
Then, after I was heading back, about 2.5 miles from the trail head, I almost stepped on ANOTHER rattlesnake. This one didnt like me getting so close and moving like I was, his rattle started right up, and I thought I heard a hissing sound as the snake started to raise up it's head. I know you're supposed to freeze then slowly move past the snake, but it was too late for that so I think I made a sound like Yogi Bear, ahhh, and quickly got down the trail. Right before the bend I turned back to make sure he wasnt following me and I could see him with his head up but he wasnt moving forward. The photographer in me said to stop and snap a picture, but the survivalist in me just told me to keep walking and try to make it to the car without getting a snakebite.
Just wanted to give a little warning. Keep an eye out for rattlesnakes. They dont want to have anything to do with us and will usually look for an escape route. Dont panic. Hold still, assess the situation, look for a way to get around the snake, and slowly make your move. :)
Damn that was something! It began with a relatively steep incline for about the first mile. Then it evens out as you meander around the side of the hill. Eventually you get to where you get to see the incline to the top, but don't psyche yourself out, its manageable. Once you get to the saddle about 2.5 miles in, you can either go back towards the back hill, down to the right or up to the left to the top of the mountain. It has a couple false tops but just keep going, its worth it to be up there. So rewarding to climb it and see it from the parking lot. I only gave it four stars because you can still see the road you came on and I always look for complete isolation. But overall great hike to get back into it. I'm still sore three days later and it feels great!
This was a awesome hike to Smith Mountain. This hike does involve scrambling , but nothing to hard ( Nothing like Strawberry Peak). Make sure you wear proper shoes and take your time. The fun factor is definitely high and there are some tricky parts. I would say its Class 2.5 almost Class 3. Make sure you take lots of water and some snacks. The elevation gain from the Smith Saddle to the top is around 800 feet of gain. The views are awesome and I would definitely do this hike again! This is also part of the Sierra Clubs Hundred Peaks Section.
My Adventure Video
Distance: 7 miles Round Trip
Elevation Gain: 1825
Hike Time 4 Hours
Difficulty ; Moderate / Strenuous
Summit: 5111 Feet
Trail Condition : Trail / Firebreak
Animals : Not recommended
Activities : Hiking , Scrambling
Fee: Adventure Pass
This is one trail that always gives me a good workout! Unfortunately, when I got to the top my allergies started acting up and I couldn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to.
The trail needs some maintenance. There were some sections where vegetation is going over the trail.
Did this hike and it was a good tough one. The first mile had switchbacks that put a little workout on me. The second and third was not as rough. Now for the crunch part, climbing to the peak. The climb was steep with rocks for grappling. Once at the top the view is spectacular! Just remember that as steep as it was gong up it will be steep going down so be careful on decent. Those rocks and dirt can slip. No I did not fall but came close.
Ill just reinforce what Gabrial said about the heat mid day........conserve your water,I saw a lot of heat stroked and dizzy looking folks asking if there was water somewhere along the trail. Do your homework people,be responsible for your actions.