Angeles National Forest Hikes

With over 200 trails, there are Angeles National Forest hikes for everyone. Most of Angeles National Forest is within an hour of LA and Orange County, and it feels like you are worlds away. There are mountains over 10,000 feet, waterfalls, incredible views, solitude, pretty much anything you would want from an outdoors area.

Don’t forget to leave your parks pass on your dashboard when you do these hikes.

Name Distance Level Location Climb Dogs
Big Horn Mine Trail Hike4EasyValyermo840Y
Switzer Falls Hike4ModerateAltadena690Y
Echo Mountain Hike on the Sam Merrill Trail5.4HardAltadena1730Y
Strawberry Peak Hike7.2ModerateAzusa1720Y
Devil’s Chair Hike (Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area)7.5ModeratePearblossom1850Y
Mount Baden-Powell Hike8.3HardVincent Gap2800Y
Hike Mt Lukens From Deukmejian Wilderness Park10HardLa Crescenta2800Y
Bridge to Nowhere Hike10.5ModerateLa Verne1870Y
Mt Baldy Hike11HardMt Baldy3990Y
Hike Mt Waterman & Twin Peaks11.5HardPearblossom3700Y
Cucamonga Peak Hike12HardMt Baldy4200Y
Hike Mt Baldy on the Bear Canyon Trail13Very HardMt Baldy5650Y
Mt Wilson Hike From Chantry Flat14.5HardSierra Madre4600Y
Mt Wilson Trail Hike14.5HardSierra Madre5640N
Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak14.7HardMt Baldy4240Y
Hike the Three T’s Trail16HardMt Baldy5110Y
Hike Mt Waterman Twin Peaks

Hike Mt Waterman & Twin Peaks

11.5 miles - Hard

A hike to Mt Waterman and the Twin Peaks offers rugged and remote beauty, well-groomed trails, panoramic views of the major summits in Angeles National Forest, and an absence of major crowds. This guide shows you how to do the popular 11.5 mile “reverse lollipop” route to Twin Peaks and then back over Mt Waterman, but you can also just do a shorter 5.5 mile hike to Mt Waterman and get a taste of the beauty of the area. If you have the time, I highly recommend the longer hike. It’s a bit of a workout with a lot of up-and-down, but the summit of Twin Peak East is a great one.

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Switzer Falls Hike

Switzer Falls Hike

4 miles - Moderate

The Switzer Falls hike is so much more than just a waterfall. In about 2 miles the trail to Switzer Falls takes you along a babbling brook, through historic ruins, on the side of a spectacular gorge, and then finally, to a pristine waterfall. Although I’ve listed the Switzer Falls hike as moderate because there’s a bit of climbing, overall it’s a very doable hike that offers many rewards for a small effort. It’s also a popular hike so it’s best done very early before the crowds show up.

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Strawberry Peak Hike

Strawberry Peak Hike

7.2 miles - Moderate

This Strawberry Peak hike offers a ton of great scenery in a relatively short distance. You wind around a ridge on Mt Lawlor with spectacular views, then do a short but tough climb to Strawberry Peak, the highest point in the front range of the San Gabriels at 6,164ft. You’ll earn great views of LA, Mt Wilson, and Mt Baldy. It’s a fun hike on its own, but even more attractive if you want to get a mountain climb in to build confidence for the higher peaks in the area.

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Mt Wilson Trail Hike

Mt Wilson Trail Hike

14.5 miles - Hard

The Mt Wilson Trail is the oldest route to the summit to Mt Wilson. Unlike the popular route to Mt Wilson from Chantry Flat, the Mt Wilson Trail is mellow and lacks the crowds and kids looking for the waterfall. The Mt Wilson Trail offers beautiful views as it ascends the side of Little Santa Anita Canyon, and being the oldest trail, offers some historical landmarks as well. If you’ve only hiked Mt Wilson from Chantry Flat, I highly recommend giving this route a try too.

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Devils Chair Hike Devils Punchbowl Natural Area

Devil’s Chair Hike (Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area)

7.5 miles - Moderate

The unique geology on the Devil’s Chair hike make it one of the most beautiful hikes in the area. The hike is in Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area, which is a transition zone between the Mojave Desert and San Gabriel Mountains. It’s also on the San Andreas and Punchbowl Faults  And this easy/moderate hike ends on a dramatic rock perch called the Devil’s Chair, offering spectacular views of the colorful geology and fauna around you.

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Hike Big Horn Mine Trail

Big Horn Mine Trail Hike

4 miles - Easy

The hike to Big Horn Mine is a fun and relatively easy way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Angeles National Forest without a major effort. The trail to Big Horn Mine winds it’s way along the side of a mountain, eventually arriving at the abandoned mine, where you can explore a historic structure from 1895 and grab some iconic photos (with Mt Baldy in the background).

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Mt Lukens Hike

Hike Mt Lukens From Deukmejian Wilderness Park

10 miles - Hard

The hike to Mt Lukens, the highest point in the city of LA at 5,066 feet, is a fun one that doesn’t get as much traffic as other more popular Southern California hikes. It’s a tough 10 mile loop with almost 3,000 feet of total ascent, and you’re rewarded with great views and pristine wilderness, all within the city of LA.

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Bridge To Nowhere

Bridge to Nowhere Hike

10.5 miles - Moderate

The 6 hour, 10.5 mile Bridge to Nowhere hike in the San Gabriel Mountains is one those hikes that you have to do at least once in your life. As the name suggests, you hike along the San Gabriel River in the beautiful Sheep Mountain Wilderness for about 5 miles, and then, out of nowhere, there’s a huge, 120-foot high bridge! The hike is fun, especially on a hot summer day, because there are plenty of stream crossings and water holes to cool off in. It’s a classic Southern California hike that every local knows about, so give it a try.

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old mt baldy trail

Hike Mt Baldy on the Bear Canyon Trail

13 miles - Very Hard

Everyone hikes Mt Baldy from Manker Flats, but have you done it on the Bear Canyon Trail? Also known as Old Mt Baldy Trail, this hike leaves from Mt Baldy Village on it’s way to the summit. Unlike the main hike up Mt Baldy (via Baldy Notch), the Bear Canyon Trail is usually not as crowded. That’s because it’s harder. It climbs 5740 feet in 6 miles. There are sections that are very steep. It’d doable with a decent level of fitness. This hike is a good choice for those who have hiked Mt Baldy from Manker Flats and now want to do it again, without all the hub-bub.

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three ts trail hike

Hike the Three T’s Trail

16 miles - Hard

The Three T’s Trail hike is one of the more peaceful hikes in the Mt Baldy area. This loop hike starts at Icehouse Canyon, climbs to Icehouse Saddle, then hits Timber Mountain (elevation 8,303ft), Telegraph Peak (elevation 8,985ft), and Thunder Mountain (elevation 8,587ft), and then descends down to Baldy Notch, Manker Flats, and back to Icehouse Canyon. It’s a long hike, but a favorite for those avoiding crowds.

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echo phone on echo mountain

Echo Mountain Hike on the Sam Merrill Trail

5.4 miles - Hard

The Echo Mountain hike packs a lot of bang for the buck. You’ll hike up the Sam Merrill Trail, which follows the old Mt Lowe railway route up to Echo Mountain, where you can see the old ruins of the Echo Mountain mountain resort. USA Today included the Echo Mountain hike as one of the “10 Great North American Hikes” and Sunset Magazine called it one of the top 45 hikes in the west. The hike is easy to follow, has an interesting history, offers great views, is a good workout, and is close to LA. Overall it’s a win.

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Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak sign

Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak

14.7 miles - Hard

If you want a great Angeles National Forest mountain hike without the crowds, hike Ontario Peak (8,696 ft) and Bighorn Peak. The hike begins on the popular Icehouse Canyon trail but soon moves off to the much less traveled Ontario Peak Trail, where you might see more bighorn sheep than people. The Ontario Peak Trail roughly follows a ridge line, offering great views culminating in the “rock nest” summit of Ontario Peak. There’s also a short spur trip to Bighorn Peak, because, why not? This is a tough hike but worth the effort–one of my favorites.

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Cucamonga Peak Hike summit

Cucamonga Peak Hike

12 miles - Hard

With one of the coolest summits in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Cucamonga Peak hike is a favorite. Cucamonga Peak, at 8,862 feet, has spectacular views of the LA sprawl, the desert, and surrounding peaks. The climb is tough but not brutal, the scenery and views are awesome, and the crowds aren’t as bad as Mount Baldy. You might even see some bighorn sheep!

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Mt Wilson Hike From Chantry Flat

Mt Wilson Hike From Chantry Flat

14.5 miles - Hard

Mt Wilson, at 5,712 feet, is the peak with all the radio towers that sits behind the LA skyline. It’s not the tallest peak in LA, but it’s a great hike with a fun summit. Multiple hiking trails ascend Mt Wilson. This hike starts at Chantry Flat, which gives you a gentler climb to the Mt Wilson summit, a trailhead store, bathrooms, and great views of LA on the way down. It’s a fun hike and a good long hike for beginners.

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mt baldy hike

Mt Baldy Hike

11 miles - Hard

This 11 mile Mt Baldy hike brings you to the highest point in LA at 10,064 feet. With almost 4000 feet of climbing, it’s a tough yet popular hike, and well worth the effort. You can see from the Pacific to the Mojave on a clear day. There are a few ways to hike Mt Baldy, and this guide takes you on the most popular route.

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Mount Baden-Powell Hike

Mount Baden-Powell Hike

8.3 miles - Hard

The Mount Baden-Powell hike packs a lot into a relatively short distance. On your way to the summit of Mt Baden-Powell (9,399 feet), you’ll experience the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) where you can channel your inner Reese Witherspoon, 40 hardcore switchbacks, a monument for Mt Baden-Powell’s namesake, Lord Baden-Powell, they guy who founded the Boy Scouts, a barren saddle with jaw-dropping views, and a 1500-year old limber pine. And at the summit you’ll enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the San Gabriel Mountains. So you got all that going for you if you do the hike. It’s tough but very doable, I highly recommend it.

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