Waterman Mountain Loop Trail is a 6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Mt Wilson, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,456 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

Use Buckhorn Day use lot as a starting point. Cross the street and go through the white gate. Follow the trail up a bit and you’ll see a sign that says trail. Go to the left for the better loop of the trail.

hiking
20 days ago

Beautiful trail just an hour and a half from LA. Arrived on 9:30am Saturday morning and finished around 11:50am, was about 65 F with gentle sun. Nice steady incline up without being too strenuous. Great views just a mile in. Good shade on the trail (not much on fire road). Saw about 7 groups on the trail. Definitely agree to do this out and back, instead of using the fire road. The trail was well laid out but you may need to check the AllTrails map if you take the fire road up or down, there were some forks in the road which could be confusing. When parking in the Buckhorn Day Use Lot, walk across the street to the white gate. You'll go up for a bit and there will be a rather inconspicuous sign/pole that marks the beginning of the trail on your left. If you miss it, you will just end up taking the fire road up and the trail will loop back down.

1 month ago

Beautiful views! I recommend skipping the fire road and going out and back among the actual trail. It’s Less steep, has better views and more shade.

Made it to the Buckhorn Day Use lot at 9am and had no problem parking. Only ran into 4 other people on this trail.

I logged this at 6.5 miles. Did some bouldering at the peak. Lots of fun!

1 month ago

One of the best day hikes in Southern California. The views along the way, and at the top, are amazing. There are even good rocks for scampering in search of a view at the top. This would be a good hike for the kiddos as well. Well-maintained trail with easy to moderate ascent. Make sure to park at, or near, the Buckhorn Day Use Lot; the gate and entry to the trail are directly across from it.

1 month ago

Park at the Buckhorn Day use lot, not the campground. Cross the street and go through the white gate. Follow the trail up a bit and you’ll see a sign that says trail. Go to the left for the better loop of the trail. When you get to the top there’s a lot of rocks to hang out at. Beautiful view. The loop going down is a fire road through the ski resort area, which rarely opens in the winter. It’s fun to see the chair lifts and all, but the road is basically a road to get down. You can always go back the way you came up if you want to avoid this part of the loop.
Winter there could be some ice or snow on the trail going up.

hiking
1 month ago

excellent hiking trail with breathtaking views. Very quiet and peaceful in weekdays. Great for Dogs! We did the hike in the afternoon when the sun move to the West side so it was nice, tons of shade and nice cold winds. The entrance is across the Buckhorn Dayly Use not the Campgrounds.

3 months ago

One of my top hikes in LA!

Lots of gorgeous views, just far/ close enough to Hollywood.

The "description" is totally inaccurate and people can get lost if they follow them!

Park at Buckhorn Day Use NOT Campground. Ignore where the trailhead is on the Alltrails app (the map trailhead looks like at the bottom of the ski hill. Who the hell would hike up or down that??) From the DAY USE lot, walk directly across the street and go through the white metal gate. After a short while you'll see a SMALL post with the word "trail" (Mt Waterman Loop is scrawled on it if you look closer) on it. Follow that TRAIL up (left). If you go straight it's just a fire road which is steeper than the left side with not much to see. The left TRAIL side has all the views and much easier of an incline.

The alltrails map is accurate the rest of the way. It will come in handy as the trail becomes unclear many times.

Please fix the description!

hiking
3 months ago

My favorite easy day hike in the Angeles N.F. I love everything about this trail--the huge ponderosa and sugar pines, the rocks on top for scrambling, the view from the top. It's also super fun to mountain bike!

hiking
4 months ago

Wonderful hike to the top. Four stars because of the descent via the dirt roads. Next time I'll return via the same path up.

hiking
4 months ago

Weather was perfect today. Views were amazing! Nice and shaded. I expected to see a lot of people since it’s Memorial Day weekend but only saw 3 people on my way up to the top. Saw a bigger group later in morning. I got here around 8am and there was one other car here. Made it to the top and spent about an hour scrambling up different rocks. The reason I’m only giving 4 stars is bc the second half of the trail (if you decide to do the full loop like I did) is really just a fire road back down. Not very picturesque and zero shade. If I would’ve known that I would’ve just gone back down the same way. But all in all a great hike about an hour outside of LA. Will definitely be back!!!

Side note: watch out for all the jerks in sports cars going 80mph down steep, narrow roads. No joke, saw a guy standing outside his Camaro at one of the turnouts with a jacket that said “In speed we trust” *vomits up a little*

hiking
5 months ago

Fist time here. Definitely not my last definitely a hidden gem. For an experienced hike fairly easy hike knocked it out in 2 hours and that was with a 15 min break at the top. Next time definitely adding cooper falls to the day for some extra mileage. Not to many signs but the trail is clear and maintained. Plus the all trails map always comes in handy! Beautiful views from the top even as clouds were engulfing the mountains.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful trail. I would rate this a more of an easier trail. If your thinking about going anytime soon.. dress WARM. It was 22 degrees in the morning and some grey clouds decided to move towards us making it even colder to the point it started snowing. Was beautiful, but SO cold. We went right at the junction head, but would recommend starting left. There is a fair amount of snow up there.. so be very careful when coming across icy patches. Trekking poles would be a good idea, but micro spikes not needed yet.

8 months ago

Weather was perfect. Trail was easy to follow. Entered at white gate across from Buckhorn Day Use parking then followed sign for Waterman Loop. Came down on fire road to complete the loop. Trail conditions are perfect.

hiking
8 months ago

Lovely trail! I would do this again and recommended it! Beautiful views throughout the loop. Some icy patches of snow on the trail today, 01/21/18, but not enough to necessitate micro spikes—just trekking poles. The section from Mt. Waterman to the main trail is not well marked, so check your All Trails map at this point especially so you don’t get lost. Check the forecast and layer up as needed.

hiking
9 months ago

Absolutely breathtaking trail. I started to the left, which I think ended up being best - the inclines are very gradual, the best views in my opinion are on this side, and the way down was a consistent fire road decline. Bit slippery on the fire road though; I was glad to have poles.

There is also the opportunity for some fun bouldering if you take the little offshoot route, and the views from that point are spectacular.

My only complaint is that there are a lot of crisscrossing roads, making it hard to know where to go. I used this app to know if I was going the right way, and may have had a hard time in some places otherwise.

The whole thing took me about 2 hours and 45 minutes with some breaks, walking at a moderately fast clip. I will definitely be back and trying the extensions to Mt. Waterman or East Twin Peaks.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked the loop with the extension to East Twin Peaks which made for a total of about 12 miles and nearly 4,000 ft of the elevation gain. We went clockwise starting from the trailhead just east of Buckhorn day use area and ended north of the small parking spot by coming down on the fire road past the ski resort buildings. The Waterman loop is great - picturesque with a few viewpoints on the way up of Baldy etc. after the junction where the trail splits to either continue up to Waterman or head towards Twin Peaks, the trail becomes narrower and a little looser. By the time you descend a bunch to get to the saddle and start the gruelling ascent up, the trail becomes looser still. The entire way up from the saddle to Twin Peaks East is no joke and probably not for the faint of knees lol. Make sure you have hiking shoes with good tread and trekking poles ideally. If not to help you up, definitely will help you get back down safely. It’s ok to scoot in your butt a little too if it helps your knees and you know, not falling off the face of a mountain. The trail may sometimes get a little hard to see so having all trails on is handy. The summit is great though - views and lots of big boulders to take summit pics on and eat lunch. Go slowly back down and at the junction head left to finish the loop. In comparison Mt Waterman might seem a little anti climatic, unless you decide to climb straight up the backside of it like we did lol because we were too lazy to walk .2 miles around but seemed to have enough to go nearly vertical hahah. The walk back down the fire road is not super exciting or easy on the feet after 11 miles but take it easy. The turn off for the short cut trail back to Hwy 2 is easy to miss also, kinda looks like a water drainage path but trust all trails!

10 months ago

This was a beautiful trail! We decided to opt outside on this trail. The trail starts at a white fire road gate across from the Buck Horn day use area that has a few benches and a vault toilet. It was 3.5 miles going up and 3.5 miles coming down a total of 7miles. I noticed a few websites say it’s 5.3 miles total but our trackers said 7miles total. It felt like 7miles total. My suggestion is to start the loop and stay to the left side going up. The left side has a more gradual elevation gain and it was absolutely doable coming down felt steep but I’m glad we hiked down the steep side and didn’t climb up it. It was about a 3hour Hike but very enjoyable!

hiking
10 months ago

Loved this hike, very gradual climb up to some fun, easy bouldering

hiking
11 months ago

Training hike with 25 lb. backpack. Started from Buckhorn at 4:20pm and returned after dark. Walking down in the dark was easy via the access road. The ski buildings and vehicles were a reminder of civilization, but the first half of the loop is pleasantly secluded.

trail running
11 months ago

Foggy day but Awesome chill day for Running some trails

hiking
11 months ago

This is one of my favorite hikes in the San Gabriels. I've hiked this mountain many times, but never this variation. I took the Mt Waterman trail to the top of the ridge, and then took a little side trip East through the Buckhorn Ski Club area. I then continued back up the trail to the summit area. what I love about this variation is that you get to explore the whole mountain, and what a beautiful mountain it is.

hiking
Thursday, September 14, 2017

This hike was a great workout, had beautiful vistas and the trail wasn’t too crowded. We walked past the white gate but missed the trail off to the left, so we ended up doing this trail counter-clockwise. If you do it this way you walk up fire roads to the top of Mt. Waterman to the ski resort. The road is steep at times but not strenuous. There are beautiful clearings along the way where you can see all the way to the desert floor of Antelope Valley.
At the top of Mt. Waterman there are lots of roads. If I didn’t have the map on my phone I would have gotten lost multiple times. However, as long as you know the general directions you’ll be fine. The road soon turns into a trail and it’s all downhill along beautiful paths to the bottom of the mountain. This way down (the way up for most hikers) is heavily forested and you cross dry streambeds and lots of shaded hillsides. There are beautiful views of Mt. Baldy and the San Gabriel mountains.
I thoroughly enjoyed this hike. Unlike Cooper Canyon trail or Horse Trail nearby this hike is on top of a mountain so you can see forever. My friends and I can’t wait to go back for another hike up here. It was cooler than the previous hikes we’ve done this summer. It was in the 70s and there was a cool breeze most of the hike. You do gain 1200’ elevation on the way up but it’s worth the view.

hiking
Sunday, September 10, 2017

Loved this trail in the midst of summer (early July). While everywhere was 90+ degrees, it was 60s up here. Beautiful pines landscape and view. Breezes were amazingly cool; I was almost cold at 70% of the hike. Wonderful wildlife. Disc golf course in the middle of the hike near the beautiful lake surrounded by trees!!! We did clockwise following the advice of an earlier reviewer. You get to the disc golf course in the second half - the half near the ski lifts. The landscape is green and grand, you'd forget it's summer. I can almost remember it with snow with all the pines and ski lift. Definitely recommend. Long drive up to the trail head though - takes about an hour.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Nice and beautiful trail really hard in the beginning,going down to fire road, Was really hot. Ending 7 mile.

hiking
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Great views off the back of the mountain. Definitely go clockwise - doing to fire road up is steep with no shade. Big open meadow area at the summit with plenty of space for a picnic. There's even a frisbee golf course up there.

hiking
Monday, May 01, 2017

Good! I went crock wise and a first half trail was good.
Another half was a service road for ski area.
I want to go the twin peaks trail next week.

hiking
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

hiking
Monday, April 10, 2017

This was great. We started with the fire road which, as some others have said, was a bit mediocre. Although, we're glad we did because the payoff was amazing once you reach the summit. Amazing views, and the trail section is a whole lot of fun. Very very clean. At 6 miles, we ran into only two people. Lots of shade and still a bit of snow out in April. Would definitely do again!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Dec 23. Super peaceful, and super cold. I went counter clockwise, beginning on the fire road. That part of the hike is kinda eh. Once you hit the trail though, it's really great.

You need an adventure pass—you can buy a day pass for six bucks at the small restaurant 7 miles before the trailhead.

hiking
Sunday, November 06, 2016

Isolated, moderate difficulty. Trail is fairly easy to follow with the assistance of a GPS. I didn't see a human, just a cat. Strong pine smell and good views. Good shade from the pines, although a midday hike would potentially be hot mid summer. Much cooler here than down the mountain, as you would expect.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

We went up to Mt Waterman to escape the heat, and we weren't disappointed. We took the trail out and back, electing not to complete the loop on the fire roads. The trail was in good shape, and not crowded at all. It was a good summer escape, but it seems like it would be better in the spring.

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