Crystal Lake to South Mt. Hawkins Trail

MODERATE 19 reviews
#72 of 196 trails in

Crystal Lake to South Mt. Hawkins Trail is a 12.2 mile out and back trail located near Azusa, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and camping and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

12.2 miles
1991 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly






Directions from Azusa, CA: Follow Highway 39 for 25 miles to Crystal Lake Recreation Area. Go a short distance past the store and Forest Service Visitor Center to the large dirt parking area. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for your vehicle while parked in this area unless you have paid to enter the Crystal Lake Recreation Area.

9 months ago

The views are great throughout this trail; it's well worth the effort. I did it on a hot but cloudy day with a little bit of light rain. The clouds and drizzle saved us from what would've been a scorching trek (a lot of the trail is exposed to the southern sky). I did a slightly different route than the one in this listing though (mine is more direct and totals at 10 miles). Check out my recording.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

I did the loop yesterday. I made the mistake of starting at noon and paid the price going up the Windy Gap Trail. I didn't realize the section was so hot and sunny. The conditions were better after Windy Gap, though.

There's a section on the Hawkins Ridge Trail (near the junction with Crystal Lake Road) that's overgrown and difficult to find. I recommend bringing a GPS map (I use AllTrails) or having excellent path finding skills. I assume the folks on this forum have at least one of those. Smile

But yeah, yesterday was a reminder that it's summer now and that I should be starting earlier in the day to avoid the heat.

Monday, April 25, 2016

The crystal lake cafe was our start point. You come fast to areas with no people around you anymore. Just wild nature. Try to hike not on road. Go off road. It's definitely worth it. Difficulty is medium. Sometimes you need to climb over trees, sometimes there are huge and better you find your way around. Meet the nature out there.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

It is wonderful , it was my first hiking and I can do it with 2 hikers friend !

Friday, January 03, 2014

I made this hike into a 22+ mile venture..14 hour day....I parked along the Hwy 2 in a small parking lot and started across the street on the Pacific Coast Trail head which is well marked,,, I hiked along the PCT and up Johnny Rd which runs into a small camp ground where I found the Mt Islip trail head marked with a sign. Once I reached the top of Islip I back tracked and found the trail head to South Mt Hawkins which I hiked over to..the view was spectacular. I then hiked down the fire road and into the camp grounds and took the old road back out onto HWY 2 right where I had started. Because of the length of the hike it was strenuous, but a great challenge.

Friday, November 22, 2013

This hike was OK. Not great,mainly due to a large majority of the PCT and this trail being so badly burned from previous fires in the last 10 or so years. It would have been a beautiful sight before the devastation. There were some nice views once you got up near the top, certain parts of the trail weren't very far from the Angeles Crest Hwy so you could see the road and (worse) hear the cars zooming up and down it,I generally prefer my hikes to be a bit more secluded. I definitely want to hit this trail again to try and bag Throop Peak, I ran out of daylight this trip so I wasn't able to the first time. Definitely worth a once over though!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Hiked from Crystal Lake Campground to the South Hawkins Fire Road (now abandoned) ending at the Fire Lookout. Fun hike, but lots of down trees and a couple of sections of trail were washed out. All are passable - just take your time. Trail from South Hawkins to Hawkins is gone, so the best bet is to return to Crystal Lake via the Fire Road.

2300 foot elevation gain and at least 2 hours 1-way, so make sure to bring plenty of water.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Hiked as a loop going from Crystal Lake Campground to Windy Gap to Mt. Hawkins to Hawkins Ridge to S. Mt. Hawkins, then back to Crystal Lake. The use trail up Hawkins was very good, starting at the far side of the mountain. The ridge trail vanished in a few short sections, then for more than 1/4 mile just before reaching the fire road. The lookout isn't manned, so even the fire road has trees and a couple significant washouts along the way. All is passable, though.

2 months ago

9 months ago

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Monday, November 09, 2015

Monday, July 06, 2015

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Monday, October 03, 2011