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Vetter Mountain is a 4 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mount Wilson, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. 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.

Distance: 4.0 miles Elevation Gain: 688 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

partially paved

views

wild flowers

wildlife

This is an easy walk on a partially paved fire road to the fire lookout at the top of Vetter Mountain. The original hiking trail (single track) to Vetter Mountain is closed due to a fire years ago. Hikers can only reach Vetter Mountain nowadays via the fire road shown here.

14 days ago

this was a fun hike but the first mile is on a asphalt road and then it turns into a dirt road but on the way back we took a Switchback Trail and made a loop out of it very windy up there and a little chilly but the views were spectacular

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this loop on 28 Sept. The trail is nice and I'd say easy to hike. We got to the top and met some nice construction workers that were building the new lookout station. The old one is long gone and the area was off limits as they were building in it's place. We went on a cloudy day so there really weren't any views but that was okay. Plenty of restrooms and rest areas.

hiking
bugs
5 months ago

Some review this as an easy hike. If you're not accustomed to elevation changes, the last 3/4 mile will be difficult as you leave the asphalt fire road to a dirt road. We've done this hike twice now, and it is always so cool to get to the top and talk with one of the fire lookout volunteers about what exactly it is that they do up there. We took the trail back down, as opposed to the fire road, and it provides you with different scenery. Construction for a new fire look out station will begin in August - the fire look out volunteers are very excited about this. Bring binoculars if you like, but they do have some at the fire look out station.

hiking
bugs
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

This is a nice hike; the part of the loop that is not road is the most pleasing part of the hike. At the peak, the wind was blowing hard causing the temperature to drop below freezing. It was interesting to see all of the amenities that once were available at Charlton Flat prior to the fire and back when the forest service was properly funded.

snow
9 months ago

This is a great starter hike and even better if you want to try hiking in the snow for the first time. There were inclines throughout the trail but nothing too strenous. We didn't take a paved road. We took the actual Vetter Trail to the lookout point. If you plan to hike this in the snow, I highly advise you to wear waterproof hiking boots with good traction (we had our snow chains/spikes on our boots), and trekking poles. The views are amazing at the top of the lookout. You have a 360 view of the surrounding moutains such as Mt. San Antonio (aka Mt. Baldy), Mt. Wilson, San Gabriel Peak, etc.

9 months ago

1st snow hike ever. The road was closed to Big Horn Mine and the Redbox trail as well so I stumbled upon Vetter Mtn. trail. A pleasant hike in the season not so straining but do take your breaks if needed. The view from the top was awesome. It placed in perspective the hikes I have done in the Southwest San Gabriel Mtns. Next time I am going to take the Silver Moccassin trail to the top. If u preferred the road, you have that option too.

hiking
11 months ago

As others have said, the way is mostly paved, and it is not difficult at all. The pay off is the views from the top. 360° of absolute gorgeousness. We did it on Christmas day and only encountered about a half a dozen other walkers.

hiking
Sun Jul 15 2018

Beautiful picnic recreation area. A few places of random tarmac & 2 old road crossings. Recomend long pants & a hat as there's quite a bit of toxic poodlebush growing close to the trail & not much shade cover. Slope is a bit deceiving as it starts fairly flat and becomes more steep as you go. 1 mile in the average is about 7.5% grade.

Sun Apr 08 2018

Nice walk not much of a hike

hiking
Sun Aug 06 2017

I started off this hike by going across the street and exploring Mt. Mooney (I was inspired by Modern Hiker's write-up). After some fire road walking and bushwhacking, I returned to Charlton Flats to begin my ascent to the fire lookout on Vetter Mountain. 90% of the hike is on paved or dirt roads. Normally I'm not a fan of "hiking" this way, but the road to the lookout is closed to cars and nature has taken over a bit. And the view from the lookout is amazing. It makes sense why they put a lookout there. It's one of the few places I've seen in the San Gabriels that has an obstructed 360-degree view of such a wide area. You can see peaks like Mt. Wilson, Mt. Disappointment, San Gabriel Peak, Mt. Lawlor, Strawberry Peak, and the mighty Mt. Baldy -- and that's just one direction. I'll have to come back for sunrise/sunset.

hiking
Tue Feb 14 2017

Went during the week and there was literally not a soul there. Though the hike itself is basic and fairly boring, once you get to the end of the fire road it's unpaved and has a better incline. The end result and views make it all worth it- I spent about an hour at the top by myself and it was glorious.

hiking
Wed Oct 05 2016

Trail is overgrown and difficult to follow at one pt, if u r doing a loop. The fire rd is clear and easy to follow, though there are lots of poodle bushes lining the edges. Didn't see any other hikers the whole time. If u go to the top where the fire lookout used to be you will be greeted by some very friendly volunteers who will answer any questions and provide historical info about the area. The 360° view from the top is spectacular and you can also see or even stand on the foundation for the new lookout. It will supposedly someday be completed when funds are available. 5.55

Sun Sep 06 2015

Walked along the paved fire road. Other than getting too hot for my dog's paws, it was nice. We were wanting a trail that didn't have anyone else, and on Labor Day weekend we managed to find that.

hiking
Mon Mar 09 2015

Decent hike. From the Charlton Flats there are two ways up. The fire road or the Mt Vetter trail. The actual trail is still closed, but the fire road is open. It is a pretty easy 2 mile hike to the top. The hike itself isn't that exciting. You walk on the fire road most of the way. The last .5 mile or so you are on a dirt trail. The views from the top are amazing and well worthy of the hike. Again, not the most exciting of hikes, but views are worth it.

hiking
Sun Sep 02 2012

There are 2 separate trails from the parking area to the fire lookout at Vetter Mountain. The 3.3 mile trail is currently closed due to the 2009 fire that destroyed the surrounding area. The 2 mile trail via the paved road is open. The hike is very easy but the fire destroyed most of the trees. Feels like walking through a disaster area.

hiking
Thu Jul 28 2011

The whole mountain has been completely devastated by fire and the lookout is rubble now. Very sad to see, it was one of my favorite places to ride Mt bike.

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3 months ago

recorded Vetter Mountain

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3 months ago

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4 months ago

recorded Vetter Mountain

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5 months ago

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7 months ago

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