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Hike Jones Peak On The Bailey Canyon Trail

Hike Jones Peak on the Bailey Canyon Trail

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to Jones Peak
  • How to Get to the Bailey Canyon Trail
  • Insider Tips and Recommendations
Total Distance (?)6.5 miles (10.5 km)
Hike Time3-4 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Hard
Total Ascent (?)2,200 feet (671m)
Highest Elevation3,375 feet (1029m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)City of Sierra Madre
Park Phone626-355-1414

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

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Look for the sign at the entrance of the parking lot.
Bailey Canyon Trailhead Parking
The lot is a decent size. There is a notice to watch out for break-ins. Leave your valuables at home.
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There’s a flush toilet at the trailhead.

Gear For the Hike

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There’s not much shade on the Bailey Canyon Trail, only a few short spots like this. Wear sun protection or do the hike in the cooler months.

Lone Peak 5

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 ShoeREI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s ShoeREI | Amazon

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

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.

Gaiagps

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.

My September 2021 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.

Jones Peak Trail Maps

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The trail is in great condition. Thank you to all the folks that work on it! The switchbacks make the slope steep but doable.
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.

Fenix 6 Pro

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.

Elevation Profile

Hike Jones Peak On The Bailey Canyon Trail Elevation
There are about 2 hot minutes of flat at the beginning and by the cabin ruins, but otherwise you climb steadily for most of the 3 miles up to Jones Peak.

3D Map

Hike Jones Peak On The Bailey Canyon Trail 3d Map
This 3D shot of the hike gives you a good idea of the effort involved. You basically climb straight up from Sierra Madre to one of the peaks towering over it.

Hike Brief

Mater Dolorosa Historci
As you hike up to Jones Peak, you’ll have lots of great views of the Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, shown here during its opening in 1932. When it was built, Sierra Madre was one of the major gateways for hikers to get into the San Gabriels, and this area was considered a bit of a “mountain retreat.” Today Sierra Madre is “the burbs,” and Mater Dolorosa is still open and offering retreats. Photo UCLA / LA Times

Jones Peak Hike Directions

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Video Directions

Watch This Video In 360/VR Why 360/VR Is Great

Turn by Turn Directions

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The trail starts on the right of the bathroom, at the end of the parking lot.
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There’s even a cool metal trail sign like you see in this neck of the San Gabriels. 3.3 miles to the summit!
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There’s also a trail board with a good map of the surrounding trails in the area.

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.

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Walk through the benches and picnic tables in the park.
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And then through the gate to the paved road, and then right on the road.
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You’ll climb and pass the reservoir on your right.
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Go straight when the pavement ends.
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And go straight past the bridge on the right.
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Here’s the sign at the bridge.
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Past the bridge, the canyon narrows. The trail will continue up to the right.
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At the split, make the right and officially start the Bailey Canyon Trail.
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Here’s the sign at that last junction.
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Alright, now you go to work. You have about 2100 feet to climb before the summit. There are about half a billion switchbacks to help you ease the gradient.
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The trail is well maintained and some sections feature stairs.
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Soon you’ll swing around and get nice views of Mater Dolorosa and Sierra Madre. Keep hiking uphill (left here), avoiding use trails to overlooks (straight).
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And then you’ll swing the other way for views up Bailey Canyon.
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At about 0.8 miles in, you’ll arrive at some nice viewpoint benches.
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From the benches you can see the trail continue up the ridge.
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Go either way at the split.
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And then more switchbacks with more great views.
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At around 2 miles in, the trail levels out and you enter a grove of oaks.
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You’ll see a trail to the left, which goes to the ruins. Let’s check out the ruins and then come back and hike up the next mile to Jones Peak.
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There’s not much left to the ruins, but you can imagine how nice a cabin here was. Today it’s a nice shaded spot to rest before tackling the last and steepest mile to the summit.

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.

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Okay, now the slope gets steeper, the switchbacks tighter, and the hike more intense.
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After about a mile of climbing, you’ll arrive at Jones Peak Saddle. Make the right to continue up to Jones Peak.
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Here’s the sign at that junction.
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You’ll get some views of Monrovia Peak and into Little Santa Anita Canyon, where the original Mt Wilson Trail is.
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The trail gets steep and splits apart. Take either way.
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And then you’ll reach the summit area.
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Hopefully this cool heart rock is here for you too. Make your Instagram dreams come true!
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There’s a bench at the summit.
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And a pile of rocks marking the summit.
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On a clear day you can see all the way to Catalina. On a day like this, not so much…
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Behind you are (from left to right) Mt Yale, Mt Harvard (with all the antenna) and Mt Wilson.
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That’s it! From here, just go back the way you came.

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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