A fun hike in the Angeles National Forest in the Mount Baldy area is Stoddard Peak. Early on the mostly double track trail passes some cabins on private property, but it fine to travel through on foot.
The best thing about this hike is marveling at all the beautiful mountains that surround you. The first portion of the hike is cool and shady through an oak grove as well as some evergreen trees along the journey. From there it opens up to magnificent green mountains. The hike transitions at the crossroads. Pay attention so as not to miss the entrance into the bush. It is here that the trek goes from an easy moderate incline along a double track trail to a steep single track path. The route is challenging with loose dirt and rocks in some spots and hard pack with slick gritty sand in areas, so watch the footing. Turning an ankle or taking a spill is a quick way to ruin an otherwise excellent day. Once the ridge line is made nature takes center stage with the fabulous mountain vistas. There are two false summits, but stay the course. Once atop Stoddard Peak the views are even more amazing to include Mount Baldy and Sunset Peak, which I have climbed previously.
I hope you enjoyed this journey to Stoddard Peak in the Angeles National Forest while ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. The idea of PBTA is to help you find yourself during a journey of self discovery, to gain a feeling of peace and contentment, through the immersion of bold experiences in nature. (Wow, that is a mouthful. It might take reading that a couple times to digest.) To find that sweet spot between the routine of responsibility and wild abandonment. In order to start down this path please LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you explore the menu above you will discover many places that PBTA travels to and while they are not Nirvana: a state of perfect happiness, an idyllic place, they certainly are pretty close to the mid point we are seeking between that and the drab monotony of our every day routine in this fast paced, crazy mixed up world. If we are to indeed find that midpoint to Nirvana then we will need a hat and shirt proudly displaying our mantra. You can find that at SHOP APPAREL.
This is the hardest hike I have ever done. Well, except Mt Langley, a 14’er, as that was a killer and the altitude wiped me out. The hike to Bighorn Peak is serious in the winter. I took on this challenge with trepidation. I really didn’t want to do this alone especially because of the snow and ice, but then again I got to go at my own pace and to really absorb nature. The snow trek to Bighorn Peak is long, it is hard, it’s got altitude, it has elevation gain and did I mention snow and ice? There are steep slopes that make having micro spikes a must. I have new really nice winter hiking boots, and micro spikes and they were essential.
My plan was to go to the first of the two peaks, Bighorn Peak and see how that went. If I felt good then back track and head for the second higher Ontario Peak. Without snow and ice this could be an 8 hour trek. I was soon to discover that hiking in snow is much more difficult and time consuming then I even allowed for especially on a steep incline when you want to be sure of each and every step. So needless to say, one was more than enough.
Sporadic snow and ice on Icehouse Canyon Trail going up, (Ice on Icehouse, go figure…), but nothing that good boots and trekking poles couldn’t handle, that being said use caution. The two times the trail seemed sketchy is because it was, in-fact I got off trail. Checked GPS and back in line. I zigged when I should have zagged on a couple of the switch backs.
This would be a tough, long, arduous exploration. I had only enough experience hiking on steep snowy mountainsides to know that I should indeed embrace that feeling of caution. My first such outing was with my friend Dexter on Blue Ridge Trail near Wrightwood. We did not have micro spikes or snow shoes, but just tromped a foothold in the snow on an exposed mountainside. That hike would have been simple in the summer, but not covered in snow where at times we sunk up to our knees.
I was in the wilderness trudging through the snow to a peak that not many people get to this time of year. How do I know? I did see a few folks on the Icehouse Canyon Trail leading to the Icehouse Saddle, not many however, although true enough it was midweek. From Icehouse Saddle the trails could go in 5 different directions as far as hikes. I did not see anyone going up to Bighorn and Ontario Peaks, which was all snow. The prints in the snow heading up past the saddle were very few.
There is a portion of the hike once I made the ridge where I was traipsing along a knife’s edge, with a dangerous and deadly drop, plus the wind was blowing in the direction of the cliff, which kept me on guard.
It was slow going in the snow and the steep, making my journey much more difficult than anticipated. I was glad to have my new waterproof insulated hiking boots and micro spikes, which definitely was the only way this could have been done. A large portion of the trek is on a very steep embankment, the kind that you just keep sliding. I learned some things about hiking in snow and I happily impart that new found knowledge in a post on ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Hiking and Backpacking 101, “Hiking in Snow.”
From the ridge to the summit provided amazing views of Ontario and Cucamonga Peaks, (both are on my list to climb), that is once the clouds parted. There were sweeping vistas to delight in the opposite direction as well. Snow capped Mount San Antonio aka “Mt Baldy” glistened in the sunshine, the Three T’s: Thunder Mountain Telegraph Peak, and Timber Mountain, (I have already summited Timber Mt), standing like silent sentries to the right are also on my To Do list.
After the ceremonious Selfie Summit Shot, and a quick snack I headed down. Some people think that going down is the hardest part. Since the cardio portion is eased dramatically I am not one of those people, unless… there is snow. Going down is just as hard, and just as slow because of the tromping in the snow, and when you add the slippery slope and having to be sure of your footing it is more difficult. Then throw into the mix that the afternoon sun now was softening the hard pack snow. I was now stepping through my earlier frozen boot prints and instead of being on top of the snow I was now deep in the snow sometimes to my knees and in some snow drifts even higher. The snow hiding the trail, made it tricky to find the way. I got off trail more than once and that usually meant deeper snow. It was all part of the adventure, but made for a more extended day then I had intended. I was spending more time which also meant that I was expending more energy.
I started rationing my water, so I was probably somewhat dehydrated, add new boots, and overexertion and this all led to feet cramps afterwards in the middle of the night. So a word of caution bring a few extra hours of water with you on a snow hike, and plan on it being way longer than you expect. But have fun and enjoy the journey because this is what ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ is about.
Thanks for joining me trudging through the snow up to the Bighorn Peak while ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. Wow, that was a good one, mostly because it was a challenge, it was something new, and it was exciting- said another way it was ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. I hope that you can get inspired to push your envelop a little bit. Speaking of inspiration there are lots of great places to go find yourself. If you look at the menu above you will see the many places that PBTA travels to throughout the West. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Speaking of following that is a great segue into please FOLLOW, COMMENT, LIKE and SHARE in order for us to have more bold experiences in nature together in the future. Please stop by SHOP APPARELto support this site and more importantly find some great Adventure Gear.
9.5 miles, approximately 1,750’ elevation gain, 6 hour duration, rated Hard
After almost a mile through a lovely oak grove and among boulders, I began a trek through heavy brush. After awhile I decided to check my GPS. I hadn’t before as it seemed like a nice trail and it was no problem following it- only to discover to my dismay that I was way off course and on a totally different trail! Rather than double back. I decided to go from the planned medium length difficult hike graduating to a very long difficult hike.
At the top of the map of my newly planned loop- I had been hiking 2.5 hours mostly descending in altitude, so now it is going to be a long arduous climb to San Mateo Peak, and on a trail that is now more like animal path.
Turns out my mistake was that there was a obscured trail that fed into the track near the registration box. It came in at an angle such that it wasn’t easy to see and there wasn’t any marker to identify it. So I didn’t check my GPS until way down the trail, since it seemed pretty straightforward. Obviously not. It’s all good- as I enjoyed my 2.5 times more hike. I got to see a lot more country, and got a lot more exercise. My travels took me on a journey through more varied terrain, and thus I experienced a lot more adventure, and a lot more balance was being pursued, lol.
It is a great area, the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness. I love the oak grove section, and the sprinkled boulders throughout the hilly chaparral covered countryside is amazing. When I was on top of the peak I took a moment to admire the views that spilled out before me. But only a moment mind you, as the winds were howling at about Gale Force with the possibility of Hurricane Force gusts. Checkout my video. On top of that there was a rain storm coming in faster than expected so taking a longer than anticipated hike meant that I really needed to hoof it back to my car.
It’s just all in a days work for an Adventure Blogger when you find yourself ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.
‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ what a lovely phrase… My gosh be sure to LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. That is the life blood of a blogger and there are so many more adventures to come. PBTA Inland Empire Hiking is but one of my blogs if you go to the menu you will see there are many places from which to choose your own adventure. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Come on outside, get your boots a little dirty! If you like my shirt then please go to SHOP APPAREL my adventure wear is not only top quality, but it carries the mantra to bring everything into balance, so spread the word from the mountain tops, to the deep canyons.
This hike begins at the top of a neighborhood in Wrightwood. There is a small parking area, from there you will walk through a portion of the neighborhood to the trailhead. While hiking on the Acorn Trail you will be trekking along a section of the Pacific Crest Trail.
The hike wanders through a beautiful pine forest decorated with some falls color to complement the evergreens. Wonderful views along the way and near the top. It is a steep trail up to the summit which stands at 8,505 feet above sea level. Near the summit there is no trail either follow your GPS or just head up, up, up through the woods. There is a clearing with an American Flag on a cliff where in the past there was a large landslide. This is not the summit, but has sweet views of nearby mountains and the valley below. The actual summit is the high point of the wooded area. Wright Mountain is a great hike and I highly recommend it.
I met a new Trail Friend and we hiked the mountain together, an Assistant Professor at a nearby Loma Linda University. My understanding of his class is that he teaches Nursing Students compassion, understanding, faith, and caring toward their patients. Very nice guy and an avid hiker and lover of nature. He confided in me while we gazed out over the valley below something very personal to him. He explained that this hike was a celebration, it was exactly 1 year ago on this day that he lost a special person to him, his father-in-law. Here is the crazy part, his father-in-law’s name is the same as mine, Roger, not exactly a common name, now-a-days.
Here is Wright Mt in the distance and the Asst. Professor on the summit of Wright Mt.
A short distance from the summit is a clearing with an American Flag where we met these two old timers, well experience on the mountain. But this guy seated on the old stump spooked me. The stump is sticking out over a cliff with a stiff breeze blowing toward the edge. Some years ago a large expanse of land gave way in a landslide right where he sits.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Natures peace will blow into you as sunshine flows into the trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away for you like the leaves of Autumn.” – John Muir
Thanks for joining me and my new trail friend the Asst. Prof from Loma Linda Univ. Fantastic day and it was nice to have someone to hike with. It was a windy day that would bring in a storm that night that dumped a several feet of snow where I stand. Please leave a COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE and FOLLOW. I am wearing PBTA wear in the picture, get yours at SHOP APPAREL. The Menu above has inspirational hikes that are categorized by location, each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.
Distance: 7.5 miles (Added side excursion for a total of 10 miles), elevation change 1,276’ (Side excursion add 200‘ or so?), duration including side excursion: > 5 hours. Rated Moderate (Side excursion and short cut has some steep sections)
Hiking in the Angeles National Forest is really great. When you are climbing a peak it is so different than life below, as it should be after all, the whole idea is ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’, a temporary reprieve from stress and/or ho-hum. This hike I throughly enjoyed because it was set back in such a way that you did not see civilization until you were pretty much on top. Also it had extraordinary peak-a-boo views, through the firs, of hills, mountains, and ravines, just about every step of the way.
Much of the trail is double track. The first, a fire road, can no longer be used for anything, but hiking. There are multiple trees down across the trail, a couple of rock slides blocking all but a couple feet or so, and brush has grown into the trail way so no vehicle could use this particular trail. Near the top there is single track. There is also a portion were you can take a short cut. I took it on the way down, but it might have been better to take it up, as it is steep with loose dirt.
Once on top the views are simply exquisite. Laid out in front of you is a magnificent range that includes Mt Baldy and several others peaks, you have views of the Inland Empire and mountain ranges beyond, also a nice view of downtown LA.
After summiting the peak, I decided to add on to my hike, so I went on a trail that moved towards a ridge line, leading to some radio towers in the distance. I turned on a ridge that descended down to the right. This was a single track path that moved through some brush and then down some steep sections with loose dirt. This had some great views of the Sunset Peak just summited. It finally drops down on to a fire road and then later reconnects with the trail that was the planned mapped hike.
This hike has incredible views. As I mentioned, what I appreciated the most is until you get to the top you do not see any suburbia, only mountains and beautiful nature.
Thanks for climbing Sunset Peak with me, now go out and find an adventure that can stir your soul, while you stretch your legs, feel the wind on your face, and drink in all that nature has bestowed upon us… or heck you certainly can continue to tag along with me as I am ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’, – I’m good with that, but to do so you will need to FOLLOW, SHARE, COMMENT, and LIKE. If however, you are excited about finding an adventure there are plenty to inspire you just go to the menu above. Each of the locations is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED Independently. Yes, that is a new PBTA cap atop my noggin. It’s one of the New Arrivals. You can buy one at SHOP APPARELWhere there is currently a SPECIAL DEAL going on.
I love the Barber’s Peak Loop Trail hike in the Mojave National Preserve, it has so much. I loved the varying landscapes and terrain. It has desert plains, some interesting volcanic rock formations, it still had some wild flowers even in late Spring, Several different types of cactus, it moved into a high desert type of landscape, from there into a slot canyon portion that was so interesting it was almost eerie called Banshee Canyon, (fitting name), and finally Hole-In-the-Wall. You almost expected Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to come galloping through with a posse hot on their trail. Although that story took place in a different part of the country, this Canyon was named by another Western Outlaw that named this one because it reminded him of the original.
The part I was most excited about was the dreaded climbing rings. They were in the Hole in the Wall/Banshee Canyon area. This was an area that you would have had to rock climb otherwise. There were heavy duty pins, for lack of a better term, with heavy duty rings attached. You needed them for the climbing of a couple rock faces. It is not a long distance, nor is it particularly difficult, however it is daunting for some people, and would require a bit of upper body strength.
I had just climbed the rings portion and met a European 30 something couple. They were not to keen on the idea, and I must say climbing down is a little harder than climbing up. I tried both because it was so fun. I am not sure they were going to test it. There were also a couple girls in their early 20’s which I believe were going to scale the face, but they had a lot of questions, such as how far is it if they did the loop, so that they were climbing up rather than down. When they heard the loop was 6 miles, I believe they were going for the climb down option.