Okay folks, this hike is often considered the most challenging trek in all of Southern California and I 100% believe it... my body is still aching all over from it. This is the BEAST of the San Gabriel mountain range. If you are to attempt this 14 mile, 12 hour+ grueling journey you MUST have the following: hiking poles, hiking boots for sure, at least 7-8L of water, try to avoid doing this in the heat or in the summer, and start this trail at 5am or 6am at the latest. I would say this hike is probably 3x more difficult than Mount Baldy. This hike will push your physical and mental limits to the edge. Another thing that makes this hike even crazier is just how steep you have to ascend and descent at different sections, it was literally a never ending rollercoaster ride. I highly recommend wearing long pants and a long sleeve tshirt as you will be dodging enormous yucca plants and overgrown brush all along the trail. It is inevitable that you will get stabbed and fall a few times. This mountain takes no prisoners.

I attempted to summit Iron Mountain on Cinco De Mayo (I guess because I'm crazy lol) and managed to only finish 3/4 of the trail which was brutal in itself (13.1 miles, 10.5 hours). My hiking partner and I only had a few hours of sleep the night before and we started at 9am so we definitely did not set ourselves up realistically for success. Also it was surprisingly warmer than we expected which definitely contributed to exhausting us even more than normal.

I WILL BE BACK TO SLAY THE BEAST!!

This is the same trailhead as Bridge to Nowhere. When you go down the fire road look out for the Heaton Flats sign on your right and the narrow green pathway will set you on your Big Iron journey. Bring an Adventure Pass to place on your car's dashboard and also grab a self issued day permit and keep a copy with you (this can be found at the trailhead).

UPDATE (6/9/18): I officially slayed the beast! Reaching this summit was one of the most exhilarating and intense things I have ever done physically and mentally. The view is breathtaking as you are in the heart of the San Gabriel mountains with 360 degree panoramic views of all the nearby mountain peaks such as Mount Baldy. There is a registry at the top that you can sign and leave your mark which I highly recommend since it's highly unlikely you will want to do this hike ever again or in the near future. It was a pure testament of willpower to reach the top (it felt like eternity to summit). This mountain is NO JOKE and any hiker that plans to attempt this peak must be super prepared. Also the mosquitoes and bugs when you start the last 2.5 miles to the summit start to get real intense. Definitely bring headlamps because you might be hiking in the dark back down the mountain. Another thing, this is the most isolated trail in the San Gabriels so you might be the only hikers the entire day along with just a few others, another reason to be fully prepared because you most likely will not run into any friendly hikers that can help you in case you need anything.