Orchard Camp via Mt Wilson Trail

MODERATE 39 reviews
#1 of 6 trails in

Orchard Camp via Mt Wilson Trail is a 6.7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Sierra Madre, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. 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.

6.7 miles
2037 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



mountain biking

nature trips

trail running



wild flowers


The first half of the trail to Mount Wilson, an old camp used by Mr Wilson himself. The trail was originally built by Benjamin Davis Wilson, who was the grandfather of General George S. Patton around 1852. The trail followed an old Indian trail and as legend has it, was used by the Spaniards to hunt for Grizzly Bears. Ben Wilson wanted to find better wood on the mountain, but was unable to locate any so the trail reverted to a popular tourist attraction for hikers. Hikers would set signal fires at the summit to let other know they had arrived safely. In 1864 Ben Wilson expanded the trail with the help of Mexican and Chinese laborers. Orchard Camp is the halfway point to Mount Wilson and while it's three room building not longer exists, a wall and stone steps remain to this day, making a great place to stop and have lunch before returning to the trail head for those not eager to make the 14 mile round trip all the way to the summit of Mount Wilson.

5 days ago

I love this trail and hike it repeatedly. Almost all uphill on the way and when you get around the front to the backside of the mountains you find tranquility.

I recently did this hike with my dog during the week and started at 5:30 am. Owls hooting in the dark. The forest eventually was waking up with birds chirping. It was amazing. I would recommend. We got to orchard camp and had it to ourselves. It is a great run down.

1 month ago

This was a very challenging trail -- up the side of a mountain on a narrow path with steep ascent and deadly drop-off on one side.

We made it to Orchard Camp but I'm sorry to report that the ~500 year old majestic oak tree in the camp had just fallen, on Christmas Day 2017, before we got there. We met a couple at the camp who had passed the tree (intact) early in the day, reached Wilson Peak, then on their return saw the tree was destroyed. Sad.

Here's a picture of the fractured trunk: https://photos.app.goo.gl/2jdoIBm97ZGoYr8E2

5 months ago

go early morning or late afternoon to avoid heat. trail faces Eastern exposure with minimal shade. Can stop at the falls halfway up for rest and shade.

7 months ago

Left early in the morning (near sunrise) to avoid heat and crowds. Had my Aussie come along as the path is pretty dog friendly. Orchid Camp is a great resting place. Shade and places to explore.

7 months ago

A lot of 'calf burning' incline at start for about 2 miles and will slightly decline half way. I hiked during summer mid day so if you're physically fit and don't mind the heat, go for it!

10 months ago

Whole trail shaded in the afternoon

11 months ago

Very scenic trail well maintained. There was lots of shade during the 2nd half and the climb is fairly good for about 2 miles.

11 months ago

This is a scenic but heavily trafficked hike that ascends on the west side of Little Santa Anita Canyon. I made it to Orchard Camp and would've gone further had it not been too late in the day. Next time I'm going to go all the way to Wilson.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Decent trail to Orchard Camp, half way point to Mt. Wilson (roughly both in elevation and length) not super scenic but nice and shaded. Parts of it are next to a "water fall". Went on 1/15/17/, a day and a half after ~3 weeks of on and off rain, and the trail is still in great condition, relatively dry, small bit of mud runoff, no problems. Decently tough hike, due to steady, gradual elevation.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Nice trail, Well Marked, Good Shape, CLEAN lots of Fun. JUST CROWDED, Trail runners, Hikers, Bikers, Casual Hikers to Die hard hikers. The Higher up you go it thins out a Little, The 1st 1.5 miles is Okay at best, definitely a workout, The second 1.5 is VERY nice, shady, water, wildlife, at that point you are half way to Mt Wilson, Next time I will go all the way! I can only imagine how much nicer it gets. This trail is a GREAT work out and people uses it as a Gym, its Close to home so its Okay. All is Good with the trail just gave it a three due to the Human activity

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

On Saturday July 23, 2016 at 5:30 am I started my hike around 7:am I arrived at ORCHID CAMP. it was very quiet and I was tired because of pain in my leg muscles I decided to rest and eat some boiled eggs I had with me. It took about 5 minutes and I saw a hiker and talked to him and he said is continuing his hiking. I looked at the path was uphill and I decided to go back, as soon as I got to the big fallen tree around 75 feet away there was a big BROWN BEAR looking at me, The bear started coming toward me I was scared did not know what to do but I decided to yell and scream at him. I was lucky because the way the area was located my voice was echoed and seemed I am very large and raised my walking stick. at one point I was thinking this is it and I am going to be eaten by the BROWN BEAR. because of my voice was echoed that saved me and the bear went to the upper path hid behind the bushes. I decided to come back and all the way I told all the other hikers about my encounter with the BROWN BEAR. On the way back I was making more noise than before because I was alone.

My biggest lesson was do not ever go alone in the hike again and be prepared in case of it happens again.

13 days ago

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