Place Name: Los Angeles County
Place Description: State: California
Elevation: 9,399 Feet
Prominence: 2,799 Feet
Elevation Gain: 3,234 Feet
Lists: Hundred Peaks Section, Hundred Peaks Section Star Emblem
Great Southern California Hike
The north side of the San Gabriel Mountains don’t receive as much love as the south side and that’s fine! That said, Mount Baden-Powell still gets crowded, The views and wilderness feel on this side of the rage are very nice and don’t feel like Southern California at all.
- Great views
- Large parking area
- Easy graded trail
- Lot of switchbacks
- Crowds on the trail
- Can get very windy and cold
While hoards of people flock to the southern side of the San Gabriel Mountains, Mount Baden-Powell sits on the northern end and offers an escape from those crowds.
That said, Mount Baden-Powell isn’t a ghost town. The parking lot at Vincent Gulch will fill up and the Pacific Crest Trail runs right through here. Despite this, I felt like I had much more solitude on this hike than I did while hiking out of Ice House Canyon.
Getting to the Mount Baden-Powell Trail Head is a much a longer drive if you are coming from LA. It starts from Highway 2, the Angeles Crest Highway just west of the town of Wrightwood.
There is a large parking area and bathrooms at the trail head.
Switchbacks, switchbacks, and more switchbacks. That is the theme of this trail. From the very beginning you will be climbing, however, the switchbacks make the 2,000 feet of climbing feel trivial. You can really turn and burn on this trail if you want.
The other great thing about this trail is the Sierra feel it gives off. I really enjoyed that! The limber ones near the summit are some of the oldest trees in Southern California. Other than that, there is not much to say about the trail. There aren’t many landmarks other than the turnoff to Lamel Spring.
The PCT forks under the summit and connects to the ridge leading over to Mount Burnham, which is a great bonus peak to add onto this hike.
Mount Baden-Powell has an enormous summit area. It’s very rounded and has sweeping views, especially towards Mount San Antonio to the south and the Mojave Desert to the north.
There is an American Flag flying on the summit and a monument dedicated to Lord Robert Stevenson Smyth Baden-Powell.
While I was on the summit, there was a glider plane buzzing the area which was pretty cool. If you would like to add on Mount Burnham, just follow the use trail west off the summit and it will connect to the PCT and lead you over there. On the return, you won’t need to go over the summit of Baden-Powell again,
The Final Word
Even though this is one of the most popular mountains in Southern California, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The northern side of the San Gabriel Mountains just feels wilder than the southern end and will keep me coming back to them to explore other peaks.
If you are looking for a fun and moderate hike, this one should fit that bill for you. Give it a look!