Explore To Do - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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I’m just starting to get into the world of hiking & camping, this was the first trail on my life & I really enjoyed it! I decided to go in the late afternoon (started hiking around 5) & enjoyed really nice shady areas & beautiful views of the mountains during the second half of the hike. There’s a ton of beautiful greenery & wild flowers/plants, & also ran into a few lizards along the way. The inclines & declines are nothing to be worried about, just be prepared to take a bunch of pictures. I recommend taking the narrow road down towards the larger parking lot, as the incline up after you’re done would be a brutal trek to your car. As a beginner, this hike was nothing too difficult. I will definitely come visit this trail again soon!

Great hike last nite and way to step into my birthday..As I keep doing this hike weekly, I definitely feel a positive difference in my body and mind and its conditioning me to level up with ease onto longer and higher altitude trails.

hiking
1 day ago

Parking is easy and free. Light traffic. No shade, so be smarter than I was and go hiking as early as possible during the scorching heat months. Super steep climb the entire time until you get to the top.

A quick getaway hike that is easy to get to. Counterclockwise for the view at the end. Clockwise for a bit more cardio.

Scott’s review was very useful as it allowed us to prepare ourselves for the height (I have a profound respect for heights, not fear, respect!)

We only hiked to the first lake, taking the watchtower route. We were fine until we hit the cliffs... (everyone else was fine there too, I was the one who clung to the walls and was focused on making it through.). The tough part is about 400m long with some seriously scary spots..

The way back was through the hump route.

Our children joined 20, 16 and 13. Trail was beautiful and demanding. We swam at the lake then hiked down.
Recommended for sure.

Great hike. I was tempted to take a star off for the amount of fellow hikers. My friend and I were slow, so we were constantly moving to the side to let others pass (our problem, not theirs). However, the hike itself is worth five stars. The "destination" at the end was fun and the views were great. We started at about 6:45 am and were in shade most of the time, which was wonderful in the SoCal summer.

I really liked it here so pretty a lot of friendly people. Several trails including a long set of stairs if you want to up your game. Very close to the beach. Downside, parking is tough as the park is in s residential area. And all the trail maps do not show all trails so you can get confused on which trail you are on.

Absolutely spectacular! Probably the best day hike I’ve ever been on! This trail has it all! We hit the trailhead at 0715 and had it all to ourselves! We went out to Heather Lake via Watchtower and back using the Hump Trail. The views on Watchtower are breathtaking! If you’re scared of heights this is NOT the trail for you! The edge of the trail drops off precipitously to say the least! I jumped out of planes in the Army and still found myself hugging the wall! Watchtower is the easiest way to get out to the lakes (side-hilling). Heather Lake is amazing. Crystal clear water and the trout breaching for insects is a spectacle in itself. We opted to return to the trailhead via The Hump Trail. The elevation gain on the Hump Trail is no joke. The views from the top are amazing. Going back we must have seen 30 or more hikers. Some more prepared than others. Go early and enjoy nature!!

The views were amazing, but I'm not really sure the hike should be rated at "hard". There is minimal ascending or descending. Great for a few hours and head past the shipwreck for more amazing views.

Agree with Chris S. Did this when it was closed today. Had to literally crawl through branches at some points but was doable (I'm 6ft and was wearing a backpack). Very much worth the scratches.

This was by far the most wonderful hike ive ever done. Challenging though,but will give you the best legs workout. Although i didnt get to see the emerald and pear, heather was just so beautiful. The water is perfect for a quick dip, and surprisingly is not that cold!

Perfect day hike! All the best of the sierras. My hubby and daughter stopped at heather to fish for trout and hang out, while my 11 year old son and I went ahead to pear. Lakes are all beautiful and varied but pear takes the cake. Granite surrounds above the tree line and crystal blue green water for a refreshing dip. We started hiking at 7:30 and we’re back in the car by 3:30. Steep climb most of the way, and amazing and slightly scary views from watchtower...

hiking
8 days ago

An amazingly beautiful hike!!! Took two groups there and it was really great fun! We used the rope to get down the cliff which was a great call and hiking along the water is fun and challenging at the same time. We actually climbed up the cliff about a half a mile after the shipwreck and then it’s about an 8 minute drive back to the car! I highly recommend this hike!!!

A real California Adventure! Personally would recommend staying two nights at Emerald and day hiking the hour to Pear Lake. Although Pear Lake does feel more isolated. Watchtower Trail is awesome as long as you're sure footed and not afraid of heights.

I completed this hike on August 4th and it was AMAZING!!! The forest in the beginning was nice and shaded and got some good views. The Watchtower is spectacular!! You walk on the ridge line and catch some epic views of the peaks across the way. Heather and Emerald Lake were beautiful but Pear Lake takes the cake. We jumped in and swam a little bit and enjoyed the sunny weather.
Side note: The trailhead said it was 6.2 to Pear Lake so in and back would be 12.4 miles.

Awesome views, and the Lakes are wonderful. Very tough hike. Recommend going via watchtower and return via hump trail.

hiking
9 days ago

This is a great trail. Challenging but the perfect amount of time.

Virtual Hike: https://youtu.be/pZEPeV_vT2w

We met up slightly after the sunrise for a relatively cool hike, despite the season. The mountain ridges on the way up shielded us from the sun for the most of the ascent, and a bit cloud cover was an extra gift as well. The views on the way up are unparalleled, both of the San Gabriel Valley, JPL, and the San Gabriel Mountains. Once at the top, there sits the ruins of an old resort, the Echo Mountain House. There is a super cool Echo Phone towards the end of the ruins, past the water basin, which has some bright color graffiti. There’s a lot to see up here, not to mention the panoramic views of the Los Angeles area. The whole hike took about 3 hours for us, with a break at the top. I highly recommend this one. It’s a medium difficulty trail, because of the ascent, but probably a good transition for beginner to intermediate hikers. I’m definitely coming back, but I want to try some of the longer routes, possibly from the Sunset Ridge Loop Trail.

Hope you enjoy!

Playlist for the trail: https://sptfy.com/17U8

went back 2nite..lost my car keys (nissan) n house key..Argh!!! Most likely at Echo Mountain point ..still love this hike..if u find them plz contact....9 20am update..someone found my keys n my note..thanks to the d lady who found them and Paul who saw my note and called...will be back this weekend for another hike..Happy Trails

Great hiking trail with multiple hills and great views of the Pacific Ocean. This is our go-to hike near our home in OC.

Just did this trail a few days ago. We hit the trailhead around noon on a Wednesday and boy was it hot! I was coming off a tough few days of work and starting out in 85 degree heat was not the ideal way to do this continuously uphill climb. It was very strenuous BUT... it was worth it. The lakes themselves are spectacular. Next time, we'll spend the night somewhere close by and start up early morning - way better to actually enjoy the hike.

We camped at Emerald Lake the first night and Pear lake the 2nd night. Emerald lake actually has the better campsites, and next time we'll spend two nights at Emerald lake and just day hike up to Pear Lake.

Also, the best lake to swim in was definitely Heather Lake, the first of the lakes. It's a little smaller, and thus was warmer than both Pear and Emerald Lake. We didn't try Astor Lake (next time!)

Beware the marmots at Pear Lake! We tried to set up at one of the campsites, but there was a marmot who was clearly not happy with us being in his home. We switched campsites and later found that that same marmot had been snatching clothes left out at a neighboring campsite!

15 days ago

Wonderful ! Most of the hike is under beautiful trees. There’s only like 15 minuets under the sun. The water is cold and perfect for the summer

Just got back from doing this trip this weekend. It was incredible! My first backpacking trip, and I loved every minute of it. The scenery and views are abundant stunning. The wildlife is beautiful - I was yelled at by a bear! The water in Pear and Emerald Lakes was so refreshing. Emerald’s water was a bit warmer, and I jumped off my first rock! =) Would totally recommend this trail. I can’t wait to go back and bring some friends next time.

Must have permit to camp - walk up only at Lodgepole. We slept in the parking lot Thursday night, and were standing in line behind 3 others before the Visitor’s Center opened. We got the last 2/3 permits.

Must have a bear canister. Pack out everything. Leave it better than you found it.

hiking
15 days ago

Beautiful trail! We ran into no other hikers either the entire hike. Its a hidden gem of Malibu.

So my girlfriend and I hiked this one today. We hike at least twice a week between 4-8 miles each hike. This one was definitely not an easy one.
To add to it we kinda took a wrong route before around the campsite and up some little trail of about 2 miles. Wasted energy and end of July heat was so amazing. Lol.
Overall it’s a great hike with beautiful reward at the end. The pond had water btw. It’s a bit of incline for the first 2.5 miles and totally worth it. Not for beginners though. We loved the solidarity cause no one is hiking this trail. We were the only one there. Probably cause it hard with no waterfall reward at the end. Would do it again.

A beautiful hike without question. You start by hiking through a pleasant forest until you reach the Watchtower where you finally get above the tree line and get some views. The trail can perhaps be a bit a bit scary if you're afraid of heights but I didn't think there were any tricky bits at all. That said, if you want to avoid hiking on trails that have sheer drops, use the "Hump Trail" to bypass the Watchtower section completely. Or you can use the Hump Trail on the way back so as not to retrace your steps completely. Mosquitoes can get pretty annoying, especially around the lakes, so make sure you carry a bug spray.
Overall, this is a lovely hike that will take a better part of a day but I probably wouldn't really consider it as hard. Definitely recommended.
As for wildlife, we saw plenty of yellow-bellied marmots and heard some grouse but never saw them.

hiking
17 days ago

Hiked the loop, counterclockwise, last week (07/21) and started about 06:07am and finished back to car at 09:43am, which included at 15/20 minute break at Berry Falls. I've done this hike in the past couple years ago.

GAIS GPS clocked in at 10:55 miles roundtrip, while the Apple Watch clocked in at 10.46miles.

You'll be mostly in the shade. There are some section of the trail that are closed so watch for the detour signs. Can't miss them. A lot of up/downs. If you start counter-clockwise, you'll be mostly going down, or up gradual inclines but nothing too crazy. The last three miles is mostly up, but gradual.

Overall, nice hike through the redwood and peaceful and calm (as I was there pretty early). Go early if you can. It's nice and peaceful early in the morning when it's quiet.

Quite strenuous loop, considering few closures along the hike. Get early to avoid the crowd. 3 waterfalls along.

18 days ago

beautiful, but crowded.

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