Heaton Flat Trail to Iron Mountain

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Angeles National Forest

Heaton Flat Trail to Iron Mountain is a 18 mile heavily 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, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 18.0 miles Elevation Gain: 6,338 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

fee

Relentless, grueling and intense are accurate. Do not go without several Liters of water for each person. And plenty of food or high calorie bars. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THIS HIKE. It’s steep and almost constantly uphill except for the drops where you actually hike downward on the way up, followed by steep inclines (which means you also have some uphill on the way back too). The last stretch is all rock scrambling to the peak. The trek down offers no relief and can almost be worse. Note: $5 parking fee at trailhead

We completed the hike on Saturday 5/23/20. The difficulty of this hike is not overstated. As for the hike distance, I tracked the hike on my Gamin GPS and it showed 14.5 miles round trip from the parking lot, not 12.6! The last 3-miles going up is basically straight up with loose soil/rocks which is what makes this hike difficult. I was able to walk the entire trail without using my hands but the others in my group crawled up and down some sections. The steep sections are slow going up and down. We also saw 2 rattle snakes sunning on the trail and had to run them off with rocks. The advise below to carry 5-liters of water is accurate and start early (sunrise) to avoid the heat in warmer periods. I definitely recommend this hike for anyone looking for a challenge but don't make this your first 14+ mile all day hike otherwise you may also need a headlamp to find your way back.

running
blowdown
bugs
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
4 days ago

7 days ago

I was fortunate enough to have the trail to myself this morning (May 22, 2020). In my opinion, the difficulty of this hike is overstated; I would liken it to San Gorgonio Peak via the Vivian Creek Trail. I started the hike at 4:30am to combat sun exposure since the first half of the trail offers little to no shade. The hike along the ridge to the summit offers some of the best views in the San Gabriels.

hiking
17 days ago

(May 12, 2020) Just finished this today. Beautiful weather. I recently been creating loop hikes to get some big gains, this one fit the bill perfectly. Read a lot of horror stories about this hike, but I found it to be probably one of the best ones I have done lately. Everyone knows about the difficulty of this hike so will not go into to it too much. But the trail is in excellent condition (kudos to all the ppl that keep it up), most of all the bushes and thrones seem to have been trimmed nicely, the trail path (dirt) is compact and padded down nicely (pretty ideal for hiking/trail running). There are spots directly exposed to sun but there seem to be plenty of shade...really pleasant. I started at 7:08 AM with two quarts of Gatorade and my trusty one can of Red Bull and snacks (worked out perfectly) got to summit at 10:10 AM (took tons of pictures and took nice 45 min break on top) . Met a few delightful people on the way up coming down, solid hikers all sub 4 hours to summit. Out of all the trails and loops I been doing around San Gabriel Mountains I have to say this one is now my favorite...it is a solid trail that really works you. If the weather holds up I would like to hit this one up again this week. So with all that said the review might make it seem like it was an easy hike, just want give a little perspective: last couple months I been putting in a lot of long loops hikes anywhere form 12-28 mile loops with 5500'-12000' gains through bush whacking, snow and rain. So I felt the hiking gods finally gave me perfect weather, perfect trail and solid gain hike today :) If anyone is interested in big gain hikes let me know...be fun to have a partner to suffer with :)

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
scramble
18 days ago

Warning PLEASE READ 1) *Bring 5 litres of water* and sugar and protein snacks. 2) Start at the LATEST at sunrise if you are attempting to make it to the top. It gets extremely hot. 3) When you get to the two way split (two miles in) take a Left, not a Right. 4) Wear bug spray, BEWARE of snakes 's (I saw three), and there is very limited shade on this trail. Remember that the elevation gains fluctuate throughout the duration of of the trail, and that it can be rough. 5) And Lastly, DO NOT ATTEMPT if you are not familiar with moderate to difficult level hikes. This is a difficult hike for sure. Use your noggin' ! I don't want to see anyone get airlifted out of here. Be safe and God Bless.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
20 days ago

A bit of a scramble after the saddle. Bring lots of water and food. Start early to avoid the worst of the sun.

rocky
scramble
22 days ago

A real kick in the butt! take at least 4 liters of water. you're gonna use muscles you didn't know you had. A hike you must experience. My Samsung Health app recorded a total of 15 miles starting from the parking lot... but don't underestimate this mountain and be prepared to climb up and slide down.

hiking
rocky
scramble
27 days ago

Beautiful day for hiking, but I way underestimated this hike because of the distance and elev. gain shown for the trail. The last couple miles were absolutely brutal. Also pretty sketchy because of all the steep parts you have to hike up and lots of exposure.

hiking
rocky
1 month ago

Did this yesterday for the first time starting 4:48 am. 14.9 miles. I loved going up. It was such a great workout and really beautiful with all the fog and clouds. The weather was perfect bc it was chilly then became really warm on the descent. I did take some timed selfies, stopped to talk to a hiker for a while, and lots of photos and meandered at the end, looking at the river (that I did not get to see in the dark) and hanging out at the top so my hike ended up being 12 hours and forty min. There was snow at the top but microspikes or crampons were not needed. I brought them just in case. I drank less than 4 L of water. Going down was a nightmare because all you do is slip and fall and slide for miles and it took me longer than going up. I got some serious blisters and a blue toenail from going down and got pricked by all the plants that didn't prick me while I was going up. I subtracted one star due to the going down part.

hiking
1 month ago

Incredible hike. Absolutely brutal but very rewarding. Even the relatively short stroll the Heaton Saddle is worth the time. Amazing views, especially now that the peaks have snow. But to echo previous comments, do not screw around with this hike. Come prepared, be in shape, and have the mental wherewithal to push through the challenge (and know when to call it quits). I can only imagine what a death march this must be in the summer. *Full disclosure: I had to turn around before the summit. The snow was about 3-ish feet deep and I couldn't justify the final mile and half (safety first).

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

It’s 12.6 miles, no question. Not by any means an easy 12.6, but only 12.6.

hiking
no shade
rocky
scramble
washed out
3 months ago

Hard hike. Took a few breaks and I regularly do none. Not easy on the way back down unless you’re extremely confident or a mountain racer. There are mountain lions- so be sure to return with plenty of daylight. Yes- bring lots of water. I’ll recommend this hike to masochist only.

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