Rattlesnake Peak Trail is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Azusa, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. 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 but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 8.3 miles Elevation Gain: 4,137 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

views

wildlife

rocky

no shade

A very steep hike along a ridge system with over 3500 feet of elevation change. Considered the 2nd most difficult peak to reach in all of the Angeles National Forest. From the locked gate (34o14.12'N 117o46.23'W, elevation 2210ft) follow the dirt road for 1.1mi (about 35min) to the point where the route to Rattlesnake Peak climbs through the brush slope on your left (34o14.96'N 117o45.88'W, elevation 2670ft). This is the critical navigational point on the hike and can be recognized as follows. Begin to take note when the dirt road makes a broad detour to the left into a substantial lateral gully. As you emerge from this detour, the road rounds a headland and, immediately in front of you, you should see a pyramid-like pinnacle just to the left of the road. Just before this pyramid the road crosses a small but deep gully. You should be able to find the remains of an old road that travels up the left-hand side of this gully. (You will also see some road remains on the steep slope on the right of the gully but ignore this.) To reach the old road there is an initial steep climb of about 15ft; several ducks have also be placed here to mark this critical junction. Having made the initial climb, proceed up the old road and veer right after about 100yds following the old road bed as it crosses to the other side of the gully. After another 100yds, the road reaches a saddle in a small cutting just to the west of the pyramid. Here you will recognize a prominent ridge that climbs steeply to the west from the saddle. The route follows a rough use-trail on the apex of this ridge. The use-trail is generally clear but overgrown in some places. At such points my advice is to stick to the apex of the ridge in order to relocate the trail a short distance further on. The first part of the climb is steep and proceeds in a NW direction. However, at 34o15.19'N 117o46.10'W and an elevation of 3380ft (and about 1hr 30min from the start), the trail reaches a broader ridge and turns westward (left), climbing more gently. Here there are several fields of dense brush and it becomes harder to follow the trail; head for the rocky outcroppings above you on the apex of the ridge. Then, at 34o15.12'N 117o46.55'W and an elevation of 3940ft (and about 2hr 20min from the start) the ridge you have followed merges with a north/south ridge and the trail turns north to follow the latter. It is then a matter of following this ridge all the way to the summit. There are some ups and downs and places where the overgrown brush has obliterated the trail but, 4.5hrs and 3.4mi from the start you will reach the 5826ft summit of Rattlesnake Peak (34o16.31'N 117o46.61'W).

hiking
19 days ago

I loved this hike !

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
20 days ago

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
rocky
scramble
21 days ago

Overgrown bushes, loose rocks, no shade, definitely start early if you want to beat the heat! Started really early in the am (3am), got to witness the sunrise. The constant loose rocks will surely keep you on alert. Trekking poles are super recommended to save your legs. Lots of wildlife, heard rattlers and witnessed a baby snake on trail. Be mindful and safe as usual. Brought around 5-6L of H20 but ended up drinking 3. No water sources, bushwhacking is here. Definitely have a map because it was easy to get off trail a couple of times. Loved the inclines yet was wear of the steep declines. Long sleeves and pants to protect your limbs from brush. Overall, it is a challenging yet rewarding hike if you come prepared.

hiking
bugs
no shade
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
21 days ago

Beautiful views no doubt. Start early, I mean early EARLY. We started at 6:15am and ended at 11:50am and we felt like earlier start would’ve been better. Or wait till it cools down because that heat is no joke. I brought 2.5 liters and drank it all. My partner drank 3liters. If you drink a lot of water bring 4 liters. We saw a curled up rattlesnake, freaked us out a bit. It’s very steep and unstable for many parts, and going down that sucks, poles will help tremendously. Also very overgrown so wear long sleeve and pants, lots of bugs bring a bug net just in case, no shade. Sunscreen it every 1.5 hours.

hiking
no shade
22 days ago

Solid trail! More difficult than I expected due to lots of loose footings. The trail can be difficult to follow in some spots so be prepared and pay attention. Great views along the way to the peak and at the summit. Enjoy!

hiking
bugs
no shade
off trail
over grown
rocky
scramble
washed out
28 days ago

VERY HOT. Make sure to bring enough water (way more than 3L) and a very early start.

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
rocky
scramble
1 month ago

It was very hot when we hikes so we took our time. There’s no shade at all luckily there is some breeze. The whole hike is all incline and there’s some sections that you have to scramble. Make sure you wear a shoe that has lots of traction and hiking poles help especially when descending. On the top is a great view of Mt. Baldy. Tough hike especially when the weather is on the 80’s but it is fun and I love the challenge. Lastly, put lots of sunscreen my left shoulder got a little sunburnt (not fun!). Only saw one other hiker on the trail.

2 months ago

Snow free today. Strongly recommend finishing the top portion before dark, there are so many vague trails that you never really know if you're on trail or not. Long pants are not necessary, but expect to get a few cuts.

hiking
no shade
scramble
2 months ago

Showing results 1 - 9 of 130