Explore the most popular nature trips trails near Mt Wilson with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

12 hours ago

Fun hike, took about 3 hours total which included an hour on the top of the peak doing some boulder scurrying, not terribly difficult so as long as you do it clockwise since the hiking trail going up is more hiker friendly with its switchbacks and better views of the San Gabriel wilderness and the Twin Peaks than the more direct route along the fire road past the ski lifts. I did not see anyone else on the trail while I was doing this hike, and judging by the (informal) log book at the summit, not a lot of people do this particular hike regularly either. The views from atop the summit isn't as awe-inspiring as Mt Baden-Powell nearby due to the amount of trees growing at the summit, but you won't be disappointed either with the good views of the San Gabriel wilderness to the south, and the fact that there is a good chance you'll get the area all to yourself for some solitude. I tracked this hike at a little under 5-1/2 miles total, not the 6 miles that was listed here.

I find the app description lacking so I’ve decided to put my own experiences here:

Difficulty: 6/10 (intermediate-hard)

Duration: 1.5 hrs up, 1 hr down

Distance: 5+ miles

Parking: lot at Islip saddle (need nature pass)

Views: 6.5/10; Antelope Valley, (N, NE), beautiful Angeles Forest Valley (W), Mt Wilson south, 350 degrees at peak, worth the climb!

Incline: 500 - 700 ft/mile, fairly steep, not easy

Technical: single track dirt/little sand

Equipment: hiking shoes (Merrill mesh), north face convertible pants, Underarmor T-shirt, (camelbak w water), leather gloves, north face wind breaker, cotton hoodie, cotton beanie

Weather: 40s, windy, gusty in spots

Shade: some shade

Environment: forest pines

Wildlife: birds

Bugs: none

Details: intermediate to steep uphill most of the way, PCT most of the way, branch off near the top

TIPs: near the top past PCT, you can go right up to short peak with cache log or left to MT Williamson.

PROS: a good work out and great views on the way up and at the peak.

CONS: none

Scott H (aka Swiper)

I liked this hike but it was a bit more difficult than the trails I have been hiking lately. It was 46 degrees out and a strong wind when we began our hike at about 9 am. There was also ice on the side of the road on Angeles Crest Highway. The trip up to the summit of Mt. Williamson is almost entirely uphill. The PCT portion is in very good shape. The cutoff to the summit was a little bit more difficult to follow, slightly steeper, and a significant portion was over loose rocks and gravel; however, the views are worth the effort. I took off one star only because of the difficulty, for me, of the uphill climb.

Very nice hike. Most of the hike was through the forest and therefore shaded. It was fun talking to the through hikers on the PCT. Spectacular views of the Mojave Desert and the ranges of the San Gabriels. Significant elevation gains at the beginning of the hike and as you approach the summit of Mt. Islip. The middle of the hike is much more gradual.

14 days ago

One of the best hikes I’ve been on in a while.

Nice trail moderate to easy. Beautiful views.

This is a very enjoyable hike. The only downside is that the elevation climb is on the way back but quite doable. There are some wonderful fall colors going on right now and there is water flowing over the waterfall which is not that common in the San Gabriels this time of year. If you wish to reach the waterfall, make certain you take the Buckhart Trail split (go to the right) when you reach the PCT. The falls are not much further down the trail.

Great work out. Nice scenery. Beautiful views.

STUNNING hike! Like most people, I just did the out-and-back version to skip the fire road. At the peak, there are so many boulders to explore around-- felt like a kid again! Beautiful views, beautiful mountains, beautiful trees, very removed and serene atmosphere.

awsome..saw a bear family of three pass by my path 20 feet away..by the campground....the cub struggled to get up on the side..Mama bear came back down staring til her cub was up..continued to enjoy a break and snack at the campground..with a cautious eyes..thank God it was a safe encounter.

one exciting trail

1 month ago

up here as I write.7pm 10/09/2017..amazin view.. challenging 4 me wid d incline m my acrophobic tendencies..lol..but I'm here..chillin..brrrrr..oh..careful with d rocks on d edge along d trail...loose

1 month ago

This is a hard hike, but very doable for the seasoned hiker. I don't recommend it to the casual hiker.

It's not exceptionally difficult in terms of stats (I recorded 9 miles with gain 3,400 feet elevation gain). What really makes it difficult is that it's a "rollercoaster hike" (up, down, up, down, up, down -- in that order). Also, the scramble to the summit gains about 1,000 feet in under a mile. It's one of the steepest scrambles I've done outside of Smith Mountain.

I saved about a quarter mile by parking at the small paved area south of the main lot on the right hand side (west side) of the highway.

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

Okay. AllTrails could use a "this campground costs money" marker, somehow. I mean, I could of looked up but myself before, but didn't even think about it. And if you want a good back country camp experience, stay away from Buckhorn camp. We should of set up shop at Cooper Canyon Camp, went to the falls & came back for the evening. My video on YouTube is on my channel, Outdoor Corn.

Started off at the trailhead, went into the canyon & made it to the falls. For those who had trouble, so did we, but it's a matter of following the stream/creek bed to the junction of Buckhorn Camp & the PCT - just past the 2.7 mile mark on this map, moving on the PCT route. Very quickly you will find a couple precarious looking paths to the left & if you head down, you'll find the ropes that lead you into the pool. We had it to ourselves & it was very enjoyable! Some tiny fish. A little moss. Some drip-drops from the falls...very nice. After that, we made our way to Buckhorn Camp...which, is the campground I wanted to visit, but when we got there, found it to be a "car camping" place. Ended up walking back to our car because we didn't bring cash (all spots were full anyway).

Overall good experience, great trail, but not having a place to camp was disappointing, since that was the main reason for our trip.

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!

spectacular views, honestly one of the best moderate trails I've visited.

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.

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.

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.

this Trail can get a little confusing because it runs into buckhart Trail and Burkhart Trail and they all come out of Buckhorn so the signs confused us a little and we missed the waterfall on the way down but we found it on the way back they could use a few more signs but it was a beautiful hike. it should be a lot better once we get some rain fall in the campgrounds are nice too

on our hike down to the waterfall you have to pay attention because you'll miss the cutoff to go down to the waterfall the only sign is a little orange ribbon and a little stack of rocks and we went a mile and a half past it and just happened to see it on the way back overall it's a nice hike plenty of shade and we will definitely come back in the fall when there's more water and we saw a giant gray fox

This was my second backpacking trip. Backpacked to Little Jimmy, setup camp, and made our way to Mt. Islip. The hike was fun and moderate. It's far into the Los Angeles Forest and takes some time to get to the parking lot. It's a great trip if you want to get away from the city. The campgrounds are well maintained and have grills, but I wouldn't recommend using the restrooms. Just handle your business in nature!

Really good hike, scenery and foliage was nicer than I expected. Falls were more of a trickle at this time of year, but still lovely. Downhill on the way in, back up to get out. Dogs loved it-- If your dog is not agile they will not be able to get down to the waterfall. We started at 0630 and were back to the car at 0830, didn't see any other people until we were almost back to the car.

3 months ago

Great hike. The difficulty rating comes from the fact that you're climbing and descending 3 times and the last mile or so up twin peaks is pretty steep. At this point the trail is pretty loose/sandy/gravelly. I lost the trail for a bit on the way up, but there were cairns (rock stacks) to guide me. Much easier to follow on the way down. It took me about 6.5 hrs including a few longer breaks for lunch and enjoying the views (an awesome amount of great views). Overall the trail is probably 75% shaded which was great!

View of the canyon through the first half is absolutely stunning. Highly recommended.

4 months ago

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.

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!

Awesome walked, loved the scenery and the waterfall was wonderful.

This was my first taste of backpacking! We went on a Friday and only one other car was in the parking lot! Basically had the whole campground to ourselves. We definitely over estimated our cardio ability and under estimated the difficulty of the trail, at least from the trailhead to Little Jimmy. It's definitely not for the out of shape. The mileage markers are wrong, so be prepared to feel like you're hiking much more than the distance on the sign posts. We stayed the night Friday night and went for an early hike to the peak around 7:30AM. Not too many people on the trail, but on the way back, closer to camp people were flooding in around 9:30AM. By 11:00AM the campground was pretty much full, so if you go on a Saturday, get there early! The spring was flowing, and it tasted amazing. Nice and cold! We filtered some of our water, and other times drank straight from it. I'd recommend filtering, because you could definitely see little bits in the water. 4 stars because it was so crowded early in the day and because of the BUGS. I got eaten alive! I was not prepared for that many bugs and the constant buzzing in my ear.

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