I had been wanting to hike Mount Wilson for a while, and since I had just hiked Mount Baldy last weekend, I figured it was a good time to go for it. I knew the Chantry Flat parking area was going to be out of control so we tried to get there early, but we still didn’t get there early enough and had to park down the road and hike up to the trailhead.
We took the Upper Winter Creek Trail which headed upwards right away but was mostly shaded and pleasant to hike. We quickly gained elevation and started to get great views of the surrounding hills.
We continued up The Upper Creek Trail winding through the cool forest; it was perfect hiking weather.
After 3 miles we came to a trail junction near Hoegee’s Campground, however we kept heading towards Mt. Wilson which was still 4 1/2 miles away.
After the decent to the trail junction, the trail headed back up again and was a lot more tiring. There were lots of switchbacks up through the forest, but fortunately the trees provided a nice shaded canopy to hike under.
At about 5 miles in we came upon Manzanita Ridge and could see radio towers in the distance atop Mount Harvard. We still had a ways to go to get to Mount Wilson.
A little further up the trail we met up with the old Mount Wilson Toll Road. It was cool to hike along the historic road which was littered with fallen boulders and tree branches. We caught another trail that spurred off from the road which led further up the mountain and led us up to a large gravel paved lot near some radio towers.
We took a short break and checked out the views and then headed towards the Mount Wilson Observatory. The road to the observatory area was closed for the winter so most of the people there were just hikers like us which was kind of nice.
After exploring the observatory area for a little bit and filling up on water we headed over to the Sturtevant Trail to start our decent. 6.7 miles back to Chantry Flat!
Coming down this trail from the summit gave us some awesome views down Santa Anita Canyon. Eventually the trail descended back down into the shaded canopy of the forest.
After a lot of hard down hill leg stomping we past by Sturtevant Camp where one of our favorite forest rangers works. Shortly after Sturtevant Camp we came to the Spruce Grove Trail Camp where we took a short break on one of the picnic tables. Then it was down the canyon and up the dreaded steep driveway that leads back up to Chantry Flat.
This 13 mile hike was a definite butt-kicker but made for an amazing daylong hike. If you ever plan on heading to this area be sure to check out the website for Adam’s Pack Station for a lot of great info.