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Condor Peak Trail

Condor Peak Trail

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to Condor Peak
  • Parking for the Condor Peak Trail
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations for the Hike
Total Distance (?)15.2 miles (24.5 km)
Hike Time6-8 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Hard
Total Ascent (?)4,100 feet (1250m)
Highest Elevation5,440 feet (1658m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Angeles National Forest
Park Phone626-574-1613
Weather & ForecastLatest Conditions
Stay SafeCopy this webpage link to the clipobard and share with a friend before you hike. Let them know when to expect you back.
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The Condor Peak Trail is an underrated gem. Sitting at 5,440 feet above the western section of Angeles National Forest, Condor Peak was once the home to nesting (and now endangered) California Condors. The Condors are long gone, but the trail is still there and well-maintained, offering a challenging hike with breathtaking views. There are a few routes to Condor Peak, and in this guide, I’ll show you what is considered the most popular route up the Condor Peak Trail.

Where is the Condor Peak Trail?

We’re not going to start the hike at the official Condor Peak Trailhead, mainly used by mountain bikers. Instead, we’re going to start just down the road at the hiker’s cutoff trail, which eliminates about 2 miles or so of up and down at the beginning and gets us climbing to the peak quicker.

The start doesn’t have an official trailhead, but the parking areas are right next to the turnoff for Vogel Flat (Vogel Flat Picnic Site, Tujunga Road, Tujunga, CA 91042). Your best bet is to use these coordinates:
34.287566, -118.225100

Condor Peak Trail Directions 2
There’s two big dirt parking areas. Park in the one farthest east. Parking is free.

Gear For the Hike

This is a long and challenging mountain hike, and you should prepare accordingly. The route is mainly exposed, and I recommend at least 3L of water, more if it’s very hot. There’s a semi-reliable spring a few miles in (waypoint on the map), and you’ll need to treat the water. Trekking poles can be handy for some steeper slopes close to the peak. The lower elevation of this climb means that it’s much warmer than the high peaks of the Angeles National Forest.

Garmin Inreach Mini 2

Garmin InReach Mini 2
I’m a firm believer in carrying a satellite communications device which works where cell phones don’t. I use a Garmin InReach which lets me send text messages back and forth to my family to let them know that I’m okay or if my plans change when I’m out in the backcountry. It also has an SOS subscription built-in so that you can reach first-responders in an emergency. The devices also offer weather reports, GPS, and navigation functionality (what’s the difference between a GPS and satellite communicator?). For a few hundred bucks they could save your life, so for me it’s a no brainer to have something like a Garmin InReach. If you use a smartphone to navigate and want a more affordable option that integrates with your phone easily, check out the ZOLEO.

Latest Prices: Amazon | REI

Lone Peak 6 Yellow

Altra Lone Peak 6
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. I have a video on the details of the Altra Lone Peak 6 here.

Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon 
Men’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon 

Black Diamond Ergo Poles 2

Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
I’ve gone back and forth on trekking poles, but I think for most people they are a good investment. They help you dig in on the uphills, provide stability on loose downhills, act as a brace when crossing streams, and can probably poke away aggressive wildlife in a pinch. The Trail Ergo Cork poles are a good balance of light weight, durability, affordability, and ease of use. If you want something ultralight and a little more pricey, I’ve had great luck with the Black Diamond Z Poles too.

Trail Ergo Poles: REI | Amazon 
Z-Poles: REI | Amazon 

Gregory Zulu 30

Gregory Zulu 30 & Jade 28
After testing quite a few backpacks, the Gregory Zulu 30 (and Jade 28 for women) is, for most hikers, the best all-season day-pack. First off, it’s very comfortable, and the mesh “trampoline” back keeps your back dry. Its 30L capacity is enough for all the essentials and plenty of layers for winter hiking. External pockets make it easy to grab gear. It’s hard to find something wrong with the pack; if anything, it could be a bit lighter, but overall, it’s not heavy. And its price-point makes it not only affordable but generally a great value.

Women’s Latest Prices: REIAmazon 
Men’s Latest Prices: REIAmazon 

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated May 2022.

My May 2022 Top Gear Picks

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.

Condor Peak Trail Maps

There are no trail signs or markers along the way, but overall the trail is in excellent condition and easy to follow.A big thanks to the Lowelifes Respectable Citizens’ Club who put in thousands of hours to restore this trail!

Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Gaiagps

How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
Here’s what I use. If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 7 or Epix. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

To access this guide when out of cell phone range on the trail, simply save the webpage on your phone ( iPhoneAndroid ).

Elevation Profile

Condor Peak Trail Elevation
You have a steady uphill gradient for the first 6 miles that’s easy to get into a groove on. Once you reach the ridge by Fox Mountain, you have a series of steep ups and downs to the summit. The last stretch of about 1000 feet is a challenging class 2 scramble to the summit area.

3D Map

Condor Peak Trail 3d Map
The Condo Peak Trail twists and turns around over the canyons and folds as it climbs up to the ridge by Fox Mountain. Then you follow the ridge across to Condor Peak.

Are There Still Condors At Condor Peak?

Nope. The last condors in the area were seen before World War 2. According to Faust Havermale, a forest ranger who spent time in the area during the early 1900s, the peak was named because it was a popular nesting spot for the California Condor, with up to a dozen riding the updrafts around the peak at any one point. Today your best bet to spot a condor in the area is to perhaps hike Slide Mountain, next to the Sespe Condor Sanctuary in Los Padres National Forest.

Condor
This is what a condor looks like from below. You can tell them apart from turkey vultures (common) because they are much bigger, and have white feathers on the leading part of the under-wing.

Condor Peak Hike Directions

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Video Directions

Turn by Turn Directions

Condor Peak Trail Directions 3
The trailhead is hidden across the road. Look for the metal poles.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 4
Start climbing on the use trail that will bring us to the Condor Peak Trail proper.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 5
The trail winds around above the road.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 6
And then you reach the Condor Peak Trail. Make the left to begin the climb.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 1
You’ll start climbing up above Big Tujunga Canyon.

The name Tujunga comes from the native Tongva term for “old woman of the earth.”

Condor Peak Trail Directions 8
Across the canyon you’ll see Stone Canyon Trail climbing to Mt Lukens.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 9
Then the trail twists north and you get your first glimpse of Condor Peak, and to the west, Condor Point.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 10
And behind you are the radio towers at the summit of Mt Lukens.
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The trail winds up the ridge between Vogel and Fusier Canyons. The tall peak in front of you is Josephine Peak.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 12
Wind through the gullies you’ll see evidence of well-worn waterfalls that come to life during rain.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 13
The trail winds in and out of dozens of small canyons. You can usually see the trail continuing if you look up in the distance.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 14
As you climb you see Hoyt Mountain to the east. If you look close you can even see the trail descending from Hoyt Mountain on the side.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 15
At about 3.2 miles in you’ll pass Fox Spring. I’ve never hiked this late summer, but in the winter and spring it’s usually flowing. Treat the water before drinking.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 16
The terraced area you see below is the Maple Canyon Sediment Placement Site, where dredged sediment from the Big Tujunga Dam is compacted and stored.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 17
As you continue to ascend the ridge you see Mt Waterman and Twin Peaks in the distance.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 18
And looking down from here offers nice views of Big Tujunga Reservoir.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 19
Keep following the spine.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 20
And then you’ll see Fox Mountain #2 (5033 ft) in front of you. We’ll be hiking across the face of Fox Mountain to the other side, and if you look closely, you’ll see the trail wrapping around the mountain.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 21
The climb gets a bit steeper as you wind up towards Fox Mountain.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 22
Look east for views of Strawberry Peak.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 23
And then along the side of Fox Mountain the gradient levels and you’ll see Condor Peak ahead.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 24
As you wind around Fox Mountain you’ll see the trail ahead along Condor Ridge to Condor Peak.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 25
When you get to the saddle, make the left. There’s a small trail up to the right if you want to bag Fox Mountain.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 26
Now we follow the spine.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 27
This part is tough. There are a few steep ups and downs.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 29
If you look down to the north, you can see the Condor Peak Trail continuing past the peak to Mendenhall Ridge.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 28
The bumpy peak to the right in the distance is Iron Mountain #2 (not the tough one).
Condor Peak Trail Directions 30
Okay, this is where the work begins. When you reach Condor Saddle, we’re going straight up the use trail to the summit. When you look at the slope from here, your mind will probably say “no way.” It’s steep and looks insane. The image doesn’t do it justice.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 31
Go slow and step by step, and you’ll see a path.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 32
It is steep and rocky at points.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 33
There are a lot of crisscrossing use trails up the mountain, but this junction is probably the most important. Take the counterintuitive and sometimes overgrown path to the left. You can go straight, but it requires some class 3 scrambling.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 34
Follow the trail around and up the south side of the summit.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 35
There are several extremely steep sections. Get dirty and use your hands on the solid rocks to go up. When you come down, you might have to do some butt slides.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 36
And then you reach the flat area of the summit. The bird in this shot is a crow. No condors today…
Condor Peak Trail Directions 37
Immediately to the right is a pile of rocks that might be a smidge higher than the further summit area.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 38
Otherwise continue on to the summit with the marker and register.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 39
You’ll get views across to Mt Lukens.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 40
And all the way to Mt Baldy in the eastern part of the forest.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 41
If you continue on the flat summit area there are more viewpoints and even some spots to set up a tent.
Condor Peak Trail Directions 42
When you’re done at the summit, just go back down the way you came!

This guide last updated on May 5, 2022. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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