Charlton Flat to Vetter Mountain Trail

EASY 24 reviews
#85 of 197 trails in

Charlton Flat to Vetter Mountain Trail is a 4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mt Wilson, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.0 miles
688 feet

dogs on leash

kid friendly



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


Directions from La Canada, CA: Follow Angeles Crest Highway for 23 miles from its beginning at the 210 Freeway in La Canada to Charlton Flat. Turn onto Charlton Flat picnic area road and go right at the junction a short distance from the highway. Continue down through Charlton Flat to the area near the Forest Service pump house and across from Wolf Tree Nature Trail. A wooden sign on your left indicates the trail to Vetter Mountain. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required to be displayed on your vehicle while it is parked in this area. Cross the gully and follow the trail along a small ravine, crossing the road after half a mile. Continue winding along the ravine to the ridge top, then hike left up the ridge to the fire lookout.

2 months ago

Nice walk not much of a hike

10 months ago

I started off this hike by going across the street and exploring Mt. Mooney (I was inspired by Modern Hiker's write-up). After some fire road walking and bushwhacking, I returned to Charlton Flats to begin my ascent to the fire lookout on Vetter Mountain. 90% of the hike is on paved or dirt roads. Normally I'm not a fan of "hiking" this way, but the road to the lookout is closed to cars and nature has taken over a bit. And the view from the lookout is amazing. It makes sense why they put a lookout there. It's one of the few places I've seen in the San Gabriels that has an obstructed 360-degree view of such a wide area. You can see peaks like Mt. Wilson, Mt. Disappointment, San Gabriel Peak, Mt. Lawlor, Strawberry Peak, and the mighty Mt. Baldy -- and that's just one direction. I'll have to come back for sunrise/sunset.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Went during the week and there was literally not a soul there. Though the hike itself is basic and fairly boring, once you get to the end of the fire road it's unpaved and has a better incline. The end result and views make it all worth it- I spent about an hour at the top by myself and it was glorious.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Trail is overgrown and difficult to follow at one pt, if u r doing a loop. The fire rd is clear and easy to follow, though there are lots of poodle bushes lining the edges. Didn't see any other hikers the whole time. If u go to the top where the fire lookout used to be you will be greeted by some very friendly volunteers who will answer any questions and provide historical info about the area. The 360° view from the top is spectacular and you can also see or even stand on the foundation for the new lookout. It will supposedly someday be completed when funds are available. 5.55

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Walked along the paved fire road. Other than getting too hot for my dog's paws, it was nice. We were wanting a trail that didn't have anyone else, and on Labor Day weekend we managed to find that.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Decent hike. From the Charlton Flats there are two ways up. The fire road or the Mt Vetter trail. The actual trail is still closed, but the fire road is open. It is a pretty easy 2 mile hike to the top. The hike itself isn't that exciting. You walk on the fire road most of the way. The last .5 mile or so you are on a dirt trail. The views from the top are amazing and well worthy of the hike. Again, not the most exciting of hikes, but views are worth it.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

There are 2 separate trails from the parking area to the fire lookout at Vetter Mountain. The 3.3 mile trail is currently closed due to the 2009 fire that destroyed the surrounding area. The 2 mile trail via the paved road is open. The hike is very easy but the fire destroyed most of the trees. Feels like walking through a disaster area.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The whole mountain has been completely devastated by fire and the lookout is rubble now. Very sad to see, it was one of my favorite places to ride Mt bike.

9 months ago

10 months ago

Monday, January 16, 2017

recorded Vetter Mountain

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Sunday, June 26, 2016

recorded Vetter Mountain

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday, December 29, 2012