Friday, March 6, 2015

Mt. Wilson via Sierra Madre

I completed this trail for the first time a week ago in 6.0 hours. Less popular than the Chantry Flat trail, it's a well-maintained, somewhat steep out-and-back trail, gaining 4,700 feet in 7.0 miles. The trailhead is located in a neighborhood near a dam. Parking is street and a little cramped (most of the spots within two blocks of the of TH were taken by 8 am) but it's not the shit show that is Chantry Flat. There's a restroom in a kids' park adjacent to the TH. From the start, the trail runs north almost completely exposed for 2 miles and 1,200 feet of climbing, with expansive views of Sierra Madre, Pasadena, and the rest of the San Gabriel Valley, until it crosses a creek. This point ends a good mini-hike, and I saw several groups taking a break here before heading back down. From there it enters the forest until merging with Mt. Wilson Road which leads to the summit.

I'm going to make this my primary endurance-building hike, for a few reasons. It's only a one hour drive from my home. It requires no permits. And it's more than 4,000' of gain. I'll need to supplement with time above 9,000' to work on my long-term acclimatization.

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