Mount Wilson via Little Santa Anita Canyon

HARD 55 reviews
#3 of 10 trails in

Mount Wilson via Little Santa Anita Canyon is a 12.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Sierra Madre, California that features a waterfall and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from September until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 12.8 miles Elevation Gain: 4,852 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

views

waterfall

wildlife

bugs

rocky

no shade

historic site

hiking
bugs
8 hours ago

[Completed Aug 17] This trail is UP UP UP as others have said. This is a challenge but well worth it to stand above the clouds. I love the very clear path, there are forks along the way and signs put up—make sure to follow the All Trails app at junctures to ensure you’re on the right path though. We left at around 6am, it was overcast which was amazing because the first mile or so is completely uncovered. We did get bugs the closer we got to the top, they are pesky. I only used SPF spray on my face, ears, neck and I noticed the gnats/annoying bugs flying around didn’t like that it kept them away. The cafe opens at 10am on the weekend (as of this posting). The way down I felt was a breeze very easy on the way down. We were able to stand above the clouds, the only things above the clouds were some peaks. It was gorgeous. I would do this again.

hiking
19 hours ago

Great trail! Started at 6 in the fog, which kept the temps down. Gorgeous scenery, with a little water in mid August. The restaurant at the top is nothing more than a glorified hot dog stand so bring your own lunch. If you’re a bitch and don’t want to hike you can always take the road to the top. Killer views! Over half the trail is in the shade. Definitely going back! So cal six pack!

hiking
bugs
15 days ago

Did this in May, beautiful trail but the summit is anticlimactic. The cosmic cafe is only open on weekends. Also there is a water refill station at the top, but would not recommend it because it tastes horrible. 3 L was enough for me. Bug spray is a must on this trail!!

Overall, the trail is in good shape. My thanks to the crews that seem to actively maintain things. Started before 6am to avoid the very exposed section of trail before the First Water junction. On a Friday, there were very few hikers on the trail (and didn’t see any bikes). Took me 3.5 hours to reach the top. Bathrooms were open, and water fill stations were available. There is a point near the top where the trail merges with the Toll Road. Further ahead, there is a junction without signs. I think it’s the Toll Road and Mt. Harvard Rd as the most prominent options. I think a hard left takes you to Mt Harvard Rd. Continue straight for the Toll Road, or look to your right for the trail. If you end up on the Toll Road, you’ll still reach the top; albeit, a slightly longer route. Based on other recent trail reports, I applied bug spray. I did not experience any problems. Also, came across an active beehive, and a beautiful kingsnake.

Absolutely beautiful start to finish. More beautiful that Cucamonga. Trails very well maintained and clearly marked. Start early like 5am. coming down the sun is blasting make sure you have enough water. I took 3L plus electrolytes. I don’t use poles and didn’t want them at any point. In a few places the trail is very loose. You will need to scramble once but it’s not a challenge. Cafe at top opens at 10. Parking at base is free although it’s on residential streets.

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

This trail is aptly rated. It is long and every step is up up up. The heat of the summer makes it a hike that will push you. You will need more water than you think. That said the hike is great, the scenery, wildflowers, and views are outstanding. Be mindful of your step as there are places where the trail is narrow and the embankment is steep or in some places a drop. Once on the summit, there is a cafe for food and a place to refill your water supply. Check out Pursuing Balance Through Adventure website and Facebook.

hiking
1 month ago

Fun hike. keep some time to spend at the summit as there are plenty of exhibits in the observatory. Took me 3 hrs to hike up the summit and a bit less to be back. I got lost a few times. Please make sure to note the trailhead at the summit as there are several trails that leave from the summit and it can get confusing. Overall, a wonderful trail with lots of greenery. Get hiking poles and lots of water. There is water and restrooms the summit. And good Wifi connectivity from Cosmic Cafe.

hiking
1 month ago

Early part seemed to be the most steep and most exposed. Lots of shade after that. Experienced little to no bugs the whole time. One disappointment was that the cafe at the top didn't have any beer (just lots of food and regular drinks). We did this hike by dropping off a car the previous day which I would recommend if you are short on time. We did it in 3 hours or so and drove down.

hiking
1 month ago

Tough hike but I was determined to do it. It’s my third time but I was out of shape for this one. Was an overcast and foggy day and wonderful to break through the clouds into the sun at the top. Contrary to what others have said I had very few bugs. Bring lots of water As it’s up up up. Much of it up the middle and end sections is in the shade which is nice.

hiking
2 months ago

Probably the first Hard trail that took a bit out of me. Started around 10 am on a cloudy day. Very green, and peaceful up to orchard grove, despite a fair number of people. After orchard grove, I popped up over the clouds and it was fairly brutal - and gorgeous - the rest of the way, with lovely flowers just before the finish. Exploring the observatory was also fun! Very buggy in parts. Saw some people who weren't prepped well and they didn't seem to be enjoying themselves.

hiking
2 months ago

A bit more exposed than I had read/expected and wohoo that elevation gain is no joke. It was cool and cloudy all day which was great for my easily wilts in the heat/sun self and also made for a pea soup zero visibility summit at the observatory but also kept it a quieter hike than it could have been due to the holiday. The rain is keeping everything still wonderfully green right now and they just did a bunch of trail maintenance up to Orchard. i think I liked the Chantry approach more but I wasn't disappointed by this much tougher hike either.

hiking
2 months ago

Loved it, clocked in almost 16 miles - passed the observatory. Great views, great trail, great workout. 2 down 4 more to go!

hiking
2 months ago

Absolutely gorgeous hike! The summit is a bit anti-climatic as you summit at a parking lot; however, there is a cafe there. I fueled up with a coffee, hikers special with a banana, and a jumbo do. Arrive at Mount Wilson Park at 0635 and was able to get a close parking spot in the residential area. The trail is very well maintained, and it is strenuous. Hike is very sustained from the start to the summit. I brought 4 liters of water with me on the hike and consumed 2 (I consumed 1 liter before hiking). Feet were a bit sore as I was finishing the descent. There was an occasional hiker here and there, but it seems as most took the trail from Chantry Flats as thats where I ran into the most hikers. Not many people at the summit. When you summit at the parking lot, if you walk straight ahead to the last right by the fence and look down you'll see the circular geological marker for Mt Wilson. Great hike, beautiful scenery, and sustained from start to summit.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful

hiking
3 months ago

Love Mt Wilson! One of the Six Peak Challenge hikes. A difficult hike just for distance and elevation gain. It is about a 15 mile hike from Sierra Madre to Mt Wilson and back. After First Water the trail changes and there is beautiful tree cover. Beautiful hike. Trail is in good condition. The stream and falls are beautiful.

hiking
bugs
3 months ago

4/27/2019 Parking is free and is on a residential street. There is a public restroom in the park. We arrived around 6:45 am and were able to grab a close spot Beautiful mostly covered trail that does feature a creek. The sound of running water is good for the soul. Feels like you are not in So Cal. First few miles are a steady climb, but not too bad. Trail does get steep, I would not recommend for a novice hiker. Day started overcast, but we did hike above the clouds and the views were amazing, like s white carpet. There is a cafe at the summit that serves hot dogs, chili, looked like homemade apple pie, Gatorade, sodas and water. Tours of the observatory are available. Credit cards are accepted. There is a station to fill water bottles. I definitely recommend bug spray, a couple spots were very bad. Be careful, we did see a lot of poison oak, but it is easily avoidable. Dogs on leash are allowed. Trail Rating ***** I’d do it again tomorrow **** I’ll do it again, it after I hike new trails ***I’ll do it again if someone asks **I’ll begrudgingly do it again *I’ll never do it again

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail for a good work out. Start early to avoid the heat. There’s a bear family in the area so be careful. Beautiful views all the way up the trail.

hiking
4 months ago

Good leg work out for sure! I don’t think the stats are accurate on here. Actually the trail is more like 15.5 miles out and back. It’s 5.5 miles out of the canyon (3 hours) and then another 2.25 to the summit from the bench (1 hour) . Then back out again.

hiking
4 months ago

Tough hike to get to the top, but very rewarding. Be prepared, this is not a hike for new hikers. Have fun out there!

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
rocky
washed out
5 months ago

hiking
6 months ago

Very scenic and straight forward compare to taking chantry flat’s trail head. It was lovely day that turned to heavy rain, to snow shower to snow storm. Thankfully we were prepared for all the mountaineering layers and micro spikes that helped a lot. No one beside 4 others hikers at the top. Beautiful ❄️ scene at the top, so thick and powdery. No cars, basically no one was there. Even the observatory was closed due to the storm. Thankful for the clean ladies room that stayed open. The only place that you can actually get away from the freezing weather.

hiking
6 months ago

I would recommend this trail for anyone wanting to get in a good leg workout and see some awesome views while doing it. We went on a rainy day so only hiked as far as First Water. It was a pretty consistent uphill climb the whole was. So pretty, and green. Not sure what it looks like on a clear sunny day but I definitely recommend on a rainy, overcast or foggy day.

7 months ago

Parked in the residential area near the trailhead. Went on a cloudy day but be prepared since parts of the trail have no shade. The trail is well mainted with some foot traffic. However bring warmer clothes if you decide to hike in the winter since there's likely snow. Also if you run out of water, the observatory provides a drinkable water faucet at the top.

hiking
7 months ago

Nice walk (3-Jan, ‘19). 3.5 hours up and 3 hours down. The trail is well marked and maintained. I will do it again soon. We didn’t find it too difficult, we are accustomed to distance walking and fit-ish

hiking
8 months ago

Went up to Mt. Wilson from Sierra Madre. Long and steady climb, but nothing too steep. Just take your time. Took me about 5.5 hrs of actual hiking time to reach the top and back. I wanted to come back via Jones Peak but the trail connect Jones Peak to Mt Wilson Trail from the north side looked a little sketch with fallen trees so I decided against it.

hiking
9 months ago

I liked this hike a lot of inclines which is what I prefer. It starts off with a very steep hill going downward, this part will kick your ass in the end, but that's the hardest part. This hike is full of views of the hills and all the cabins! This is an old camp ground. Parking is $5, even if you park on the street which I thought was stupid!! I removed a star for that alone. Women be advised if nature calls they have no feminine care on site, nothing that can be purchased either. The information office said people would vandalize them. Lol ok...

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