Explore the most popular hiking trails in San Gabriel Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

,Hardest peak yet for me!!!

What a great trail! A bit hard to follow but thanks to all trails we followed it perfectly!
Steep inclines about 1.5 Miles before twin peaks summit. Running behind on time so we skipped the waterman peak. Will definitely be returning here!

backpacking
1 month ago

This has become my go to site. Beautiful hike and over night backpacking. Every time I have gone shared the site with at most 2 more groups and sites are spaced out far enough you really don’t get overlap at all. Be aware of the trail when it turns off the main creek it can be easy to miss, you want to go up the hill before the creek splits. From the fork there is no way to miss the spot. Trail can be tricky in spots depending on the water and time of year. In the winter there can be high water and tricky crossings with rock hopping and once we had to use a fallen tree to cross in the early spring.

The elevation gain posted here is correct but not the mileage...it is at least 1 mile longer than the posted 9 miles if you do the loop...definitely recommend getting there early to avoid the heat and the crowds that come later...I usually try to start around 6 am. Hiking poles aren’t needed but could be useful for some people. Depending on the weather conditions when you do this hike, I think 2-3 liters of water should be fine.
From the Cobb Estate gate it is about 2.5 miles up to Echo Mtn. From there you can either start with the San Merrill trail or the Castle Canyon to get to Inspiration Point and use whichever one you didn’t take up to get back down to Echo. My GPS measured Castle Canyon to be about 1 mile shorter.
Distance- 10.1 miles
Duration- 4-6 hrs
Difficulty- hard

*easy to find street parking and no Adventure Pass needed

Yes it’s been so hot this summer!! BUT this trail is nice and shady if you start as early as 6am. You would definitely need all terrain/hiking shoes. WATER and snack as well. Too many mountain bikers so Earphones headphones is not a good idea. Due to recent fires the view wasn’t as good but will definitely comeback!! Really liked the trail and if you’ve never hiked be ready for a great uphill downhill leg workout! :))

really good hike.
I actually did 12.4 mile total.
I started from Sam Trailway worked my way up to Inspiration
( I took the longer way) I liked the challenge. Came back down the same way I went up. You definitely need at least 3 or 4 liters of water in a hot day. Took a sandwich and orange and u survived lol.

Yes this hike is recommended for advanced hikers.

Went July 19th about 1030 in the morning. Would have started a litter earlier but helped out two girls with the van. If they read this I really hope you made it home. Started on the trail went about 1.1 miles then turned around. Next time probably (next week Tuesday or Wednesday) early morning like around 5 or 6. The heat was intense. No shade but over great trail. Will update later.

backpacking
2 months ago

Great hike. No water source until about mile 5. Trail can be hard to follow at times. Lots of rock hopping. We only saw one other group of backpackers the whole time. In July the mosquitos were prevalent at night. Overall a fun overnight trip about 45 mins from a main town.

hiking
2 months ago

A short but steep hike with spectacular views, some of the best in the range. Also lightly trafficked -- you'll likely have it to yourself. Highly recommended, but do another hike in the area to make the drive worthwhile. Nearby Mount Waterman, Winston Peak, and Mount Akawie are good options.

This is a challenge with a weighted pack or without. Bring plenty of water if you’re not out and back before noon, at 80 degrees it’s still hot with little to no shade after the first mile. I went through 3Liters plus two water bottles. After the first 2 miles there’s a concrete structure that’s excellent for shade and food before rock climbing with no shade, except a couple small trees or hiding behind a rock.
Very lightly trafficked, 3 other single hikers the day I went. Out of the 4 of us only 2 went up to strawberry peak, the other 2 made it up the first rock scramble and turned back. The second rock scramble is NOT well marked, which is acceptable going up, but coming back down check the map for your location. I got off in a rock slide area, noticing after I went to step down and one slid out from under my foot. I’m not a fan of heights and was calmly scared since I was alone, but I was able to get over to the trail after checking this app for its location vs mine.
I’m not sure I’d come back to this alone, but having experienced it once the climb should be more manageable. This was my first time in almost a year with a pack on, which caught me off guard with the weight and climbing. Hiking Project by REI classifies the rock scramble as a level 3. Enjoy! Make sure someone knows your location on this one because it’s not an easy 6 Miles.

This trail should be rated extremely dangerous between Heaton flats and Easy Fork (aka Alison mine trail) and furthermore life threatening. Truly I feel it should be removed as to not allow others to put their lives in this much danger.
There are no clear trail markers and the trail has been mostly washed out. Wrong turns may honestly be your last and almost was for quite a few of us.
This should not even be a trail on all trails as I think many avid backpackers would be risking their lives by taking this trail.
Perhaps this was once luxurious. Now, it is one the most dangerous experiences I have ever had in my life.
Also, good luck if you get stuck like we did- there’s no signal or way for anyone to get you help or off the mountain side.

I’m unbelievably thankful that I had the people with me that I did- or I would not be here to tell the story.

This is not a trail!!!! The section between Heaton Flats and the mine and to bridge is all but gone!
it’s washed out by stone and is extremely dangerous!! navigating along the ridge mostly cliff and loose rock falling in some spots is certain death
Since the trail is so washed out it’s very very difficult to stay on course
U could never bring enough water in summer do to the time required to navigate the treacherous terain we holed up in Allison mine until the heat subsided and continued navigating the terrain on not more than broken game trails there was also yucca unchecked along the cliff
u had no option but to go through its choke points of yucca!! there was lots of blood! Popped mattresses (painful)
All trails needs to remove this trail as it does not exist the forest service removed it already
Someone could get lost and die on this supposed trail !
AllTrails would be wise to at least rate it as extremely difficult

Has the potential to be very stressful with the poking Yucca plants, lack of shade, significant rock hopping, and scrambling up the West cliff face, Also amazing how you can get turned around, although not lost, and put in a precarious situation so quickly at various point on the trail.

Solutions to the stress are, minimum 3.0 l of water. Wear denim, or mountain pants for Yucca Armor . Keep three points of contact as you travel up rough terrain. Have at least one trekking pole. Use GPS as a hiking guide. Dogs should absolutely wear boots. Keep an eye out for rattlers, although I saw none myself.

I started at 630 am in July, wish I would of started earlier, as the sun can beat down pretty hard on most of the trail.

A very unique trail, fun , w appropriate preparation.

2 months ago

favorite place so far

Pretty sweet trail with great views at the top and just along the trail itself. Only saw a few people on the way up which was pretty awesome. Only issue is there is definitely a lack of signage when trails cross and the last bit of the trail to the peak was a road. Definitely bring sunscreen as there isn't much for shade

fishing
2 months ago

Some good trout fishing along the river, used my mountain bike to ride alongside the river. Main trail is mostly asphalt, great for hiking, biking, and nature walks. There’s a lot of people hiking the first 3-5 miles, afterwards there are very few people, mostly with bikes. I would recommend bringing a buddy or two if your planning to hike/bike the trail deeper due to bears around that area.

This was my first 10 mile hike with my 8yr old daughter. A lot of climbing but the views are amazing. Be careful with mountain bikers. The way we took this hike was heading left and loop around. Recommend it . . .

3 months ago

This was a good challenge. It is not at all easy, but it is doable. It is so peaceful as you branch off from Echo Mountain to hike to the point. About 10 minutes in, we felt like we were in a rainforest (California standards) listening to running water and singing birds. Go early if you want to enjoy the feeling of being in nature alone. We started at 4:50am and were back down by 9:20am.

If you are looking for a truly challenging and action packed hike that will test your rock scrambling abilities, this is the hike for you. I specifically did the Colby Canyon to Strawberry Peak (Mountaineer's route) to Strawberry Meadows loop.This took my friend and I about 11 miles and 8 hours to complete, exhausting but such a rewarding journey. This is a hike you need to prepare for if you decide to do the mountaineer' route which has you rock scrambling up and up (class 3 rock scramble) at 2 different portions of the trail. The rock segments have arrows and other markings that help guide you up. It is challenging and very doable as the most of the rocks are solid for footing and grabbing onto. To backtrack, there is a small dusty trailhead for the Colby canyon trailhead. Park here and go in 2 miles, you will be starting off in a creek bed then will be ascending upwards towards this small water tower called Josephine/Strawberry saddle. From this point in order to take the mountaineer's route you take the pathway to the right BUT once you get right on it there is a use trail that you should ascend that climbs quickly. If you feel you are lost here, you are probably on the right path. Keep going for .2 or .3 miles and you will come across the the first rock segment. Super fun and definitely felt a little dangerous at times. After this, you keep going forward to the steep face of Strawberry peak where you will encounter the last rock wall climb and this was is rather steep going up. Follow the arrows and red ribbons for the most doable and safer climb up. Absolutely take your time with your footing and grabbing here. There were moments on this rock scramble that felt pretty nerve racking but you just need to keep going up and you will be fine. Once you get to the peak, take a break and check out the little metal box which has notepads. So once you get up here, you can either go back down or what I did to extend my hike was to follow the pathway to east which goes towards Mount Lawlor and you want to take sharp left to start heading towards Strawberry meadows. This hike is amazing because there are so many layers to it. You find yourself going through a forest area, hiking along several switchbacks, and dodging tons of spanish bayonets.

One of the most difficult short hikes I've done. Definitely great conditioning for longer hikes. Very fun scramble to the actual peak after completing the main part of the trail, but definitely not recommended to those not fond of heights. Bring a lot of water, our group took 5 hours of continuous hiking under essentially no coverage from the sun to reach the peak and back. Recommend early start if going during warmer months.

This is a nice trail that leads down to a creek. There was water but it was a trickle. Enough to refill my bottle. This trail is more moderate than easy. I would say it is easy for those in better shape and those who hike more often. I did this trail because it was rated easy and I wanted to work on ascending. This was not easy and can be somewhat steep in some places. It was a beautiful hike with fragrant spring blooms. I gave it 4 stars because some people use part of the trail to walk their dogs and leave doggie bags along the trail. Also, bring your own toilet paper as the vaulted toilet at Cooper Canyon didn't have any available.

hiking
3 months ago

I had often wondered if were possible to hike across the Western Ridge of Mt. Waterman during the many times I have hiked this trail, so I decided today would be the day I found out. A couple of days prior I noticed a fellow user had posted tracks of just what I intended to do giving me confidence this could be done. Starting out around 6:30 am from 3 points I arrived at the summit of Waterman just after 9 am. After a short break I headed off to the west down the ridge, much to my surprise there is actually a pretty decent use trail that follows the ridge all the way down to the saddle about 1.5 miles from the trailhead. This is a seldom used trail so I did lose it from time to time but it is pretty straightforward which way to go. Upon reaching the saddle I took the steep trail down to the north connecting with the PCT in about .5 miles. It was nice discovering this portion of the mountain I had not previously seen. A portion of my track recording is missing as I must of hit the pause button while taking a photo. If you decide to take this route make sure you are comfortable with off trail travel and have a map and compass or GPS unit with Topo maps installed as this is a trail you will likely not see another hiker. Enjoy and be safe.

If you are going to go back down the boulder hopping route, from the top careful and go slow as it is easily to make a wrong turn and end up on the edge of a cliff and a very steep drop. It is easy to get confused when approaching and descending from the top of the peak.

hiking
4 months ago

Did this on may 1st with fog, fog, fog: no views. But wonderfully quiet and cool. Took side trips to Echo Mountain, Muir Peak and Mt Lowe for a combined 17 mi hike. very nice. The actual trail is well maintained, well indicated and not all that hard.
All the historical signs and indicators made the trail a tad too domesticated for my taste.

I took this route back in 2009 and had fond memories and wanted to do it again so I took my 25 year old daughter on the hike as part of our preparation to summit Half Dome in Yosemite this summer.

This route was as pleasant and interesting as I remembered. I enjoy the climb to the ruins at Mt. Lowe and the the level walk back into Castle Canyon and then the sharp ascent to the top. I like the lookout and “telescopes” up there. Then, continuing on the loop comes the shady and level section through the trees before the descent.

As you make your way down the mountain the sense of how high you have climbed is impressive. Great views! We were out on the trail about 6.5 hours, moving 5.5. 11.6 miles.

This is a great hike and some fun bouldering stuff to do along the way. Watch out for a sharp left at the actual Colby Canyon...I had a really fun misadventure all the way up that canyon where it becomes really steep and slippery/fragmented.
Gorgeous views all throughout and stunning from the top. Highly recommend!

worth all the effort!

Colby canyon is an excellent and quite enjoyable hike up to the spur. Then, things take a 180. Be sure to follow the ridge line UP to the east as opposed to following the strawberry spur trail that meanders to the N/NE.
If you enjoy navigating and boulder hopping, you’ll find this section quiet enjoyable. The trail is over grown at times until the class 3 face of strawberry’s West face. Gives a good sense that you’re out there, away from the crowds, getting a good taste of the wild San Gabriel Mountains.
The last class 3 climb to the summit was very fun but I regret one thing: bringing my 2 year old Australian cattle dog. He snagged a nail on one of the rocks on the way up. I would NOT recommend any dogs at this point unless you intend to carry him.
Made our way down with an obligatory facial dunk (and paw soak) in the multiple creek crossings towards the end of the trail. Another great day in the San Gabe’s.

Fun hike did it just under 5 hrs. Got to trailhead at 7am and wasn’t too crowded but on the way down lots of people to dodge around. Did Muir Peak while at Inspiration- easy side trip and worth the view / quietness

Great day hike and a good one to use to train for Vivian Creek. Hit it on a clear day and you can see for miles.

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