Hike Jones Peak on the Bailey Canyon Trail
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||6.5 miles (10.5 km)|
|Hike Time||3-4 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||2,200 feet (671m)|
|Highest Elevation||3,375 feet (1029m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||City of Sierra Madre|
Don’t let the shorter distance fool you; the hike to Jones Peak from the Bailey Canyon Trail is a tough one. The climb up through Bailey Canyon features steep canyon walls, sweeping views, and a well-maintained trail with many switchbacks. Along the way, there are ruins of a cabin in a lush gully, and then after some more switchbacks, you get to Jones Peak at 3375 feet. The peak offers panoramic views from Mt Wilson to Catalina. Overall it’s a solid hike with a little bit of everything.
Where is the Bailey Canyon Trail?
Parking is easy and free. There’s a medium-sized lot at the Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park. Locals and dog walkers use the park–it can get crowded. If the lot is full, find a spot on the streets around the area that doesn’t have “no parking” signs. Be respectful; this is a residential neighborhood. Use this trailhead address:
Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park, 451 W Carter Ave, Sierra Madre, CA 91024
Gear For the Hike
- I’d play it safe and bring 2L of water.
- You can get away with fitness clothing here or light hiking gear.
- I’d use trekking poles if you have them. They’ll help on the steep slopes.
Altra Lone Peak 5
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. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.
Latest Price on Women’s Shoe – REI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s Shoe – REI | Amazon
Stay Safe Out of Cell Phone Range
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Garmin InReach Mini (REI | Amazon | My Review) fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing.
Gaia GPS Mapping App
Smartphones are not backcountry instruments, but almost everyone has one today. And they all have GPS onboard. So I recommend getting a good GPS hiking app like Gaia GPS that supports offline maps. Just make sure to put your phone in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. GaiaGPS not only has smartphone and tablet apps, but also an online planning tool. You can drag the GPX hike tracks from my (or any) guides into the online map and they will sync to your phone. 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.
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated September 2021.
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.
Jones Peak Trail Maps
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.
How are you going to navigate this hike?
To start, you should always have a paper map and compass. And it helps to print this guide out or save it on your phone. I highly recommend a GPS as well. I use the Garmin Fenix 6 Smart GPS watch ( REI | Amazon | My Review) with maps (or the more affordable Garmin Instinct). The GPS smartwatch is nice because it’s rugged, works if your phone dies, and also has a billion other features like sleep tracking, workout recording, etc.
- Bailey Canyon, which you will ascend, was named after R.J. Bailey, who received a homestead from the U.S. Government here in 1875. It had a reputation for being a great place for animal trapping, and you can even read newspaper articles about the animals trapped there in early editions of the LA Times.
- The trail has an interesting story. Before 1969 there was no official Bailey Canyon Trail, and bushwhackers venturing up the canyon often had to be rescued by the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team. In stepped two youth organizations, largely comprised of the rescue team’s children, the Sierra Madre Mountaineers and Sierra Madre Rangers. With the help of their parents, CA Parks, and the US Forest Service, they started building a trail to Jones Peak. They got as far as the cabin before work stopped in the early 70s. In the 1990s a $50,000 grant allowed the trail to continue to Jones Peak, and then on to the Mt Wilson Trail.
- Jones Peaks is not an official summit name in the USGS database, there are no survey markers there, and it’s not named on USGS topographic maps. But thanks to a tip from Rob S. – the peak was (informally?) named after Sierra Madre’s first mayor, C.W. Jones.
- The area that you are hiking through is recovering from the 1993 Kinneloa Fire. This is what regrowth looks like between then and now.
Jones Peak Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
The trickiest part of the hike are the twists and turns in the beginning. The first few images below all occur in the first half-mile, between the parking lot and the Bailey Canyon Trail.
There used to be a strange historical marker here that mentioned someone with smallpox or something along those lines. I noticed it was gone. The real story behind the cabin ruins is this. In 1910, three college students built the cabins and used them until 1942, when the canyon was closed to the public and became an Army firing range. The cabins stood for years until (of course) they were vandalized until almost totally destroyed. You can see an earlier stage of this type of vandalism playing out at Beek’s Place.
This guide last updated on August 30, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
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