Hike Mt Lukens From Deukmejian Wilderness Park
|In This Guide|
|Distance||10 miles (16.1 km)|
|Hike Time||5-6 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||2,800 feet (853m)|
|Highest Elevation||5,066 feet (1544m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Park Website||Deukmejian Wilderness Park|
|Stay In Touch||Newsletter - Instagram - YouTube - Facebook|
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.
Mt Lukens is the westernmost peak of the San Gabriel Mountains front range. Hiking to the peak gives you a glimpse into the mountainous innards of Angeles National Forest. Looking back to the west you have about 3,000 feet of prominence, with terrific views of LA and the Verdugo Mountains. On a clear day you can see from Catalina to San Gorgonio. The summit has radio towers on it, but who cares, it’s still a great hike.
Where is the Mt Lukens Hike?
There are a few trails to the Mt Lukens summit, and this guide covers the most popular loop route from Deukmejian Wilderness Park, which is only 20 minutes from downtown LA (if the traffic gods are on your side).
Use this trailhead address: Deukmejian Wilderness Park, 3429 Markridge Rd, Glendale, CA 91214.
Gear For the Hike
Although you could get away with doing this hike with fitness gear as many trail runners do, I strongly recommend using proper hiking gear. It’s a tough 10 mile hike and you need to be prepared. There’s also not a lot of shade so you’ll want to be ready for hot temperatures in the summer.
I try a lot of hiking boots and shoes, and there are some great options out there, but the La Sportiva Spire is the best combination of comfort, protection, low-weight, and durability. They are waterproof, and the high cuff keeps debris out without the need for a gaiter. Time tested over thousands of miles. Use them with a two-layer sock system to end blisters for good.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: Women – Men
On a medium or longer hike I recommend a pack like the Osprey Talon 33 (men) or Osprey Sirrus 36 (women) which is a little bit larger. These packs are on the upper end of the (35L) daypack range, but they only weigh a small fraction more than a pack with less capacity. Having the extra space gives you more flexibility and means you don’t have to jam things in there. I use the space for things like extra layers in the winter, extra water on desert hikes, and even a tent & sleeping bag on overnights.
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 Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI.
I’m a big fan of GPS watches (which I also use as a sleep, wellness, and fitness tracker) and my current watch is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar. I load my GPX tracks onto the watch to make sure I’m in the right place, and if not, the onboard topo maps allow me to navigate on the fly. It’s pricey but it has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of functionality. If you want something similar without the maps and big price tag, check out the Garmin Instinct which is a great buy and does a lot of the same things.
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here
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 offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
Mt Lukens Trail Maps
There are several trails and hikes to the top of Mt Lukens and as I mentioned earlier, this guide covers the most popular route which starts in Deukmejian Wilderness Park and makes its way into Angeles National Forest. The hike heads up the Crescenta View Trail, visits the summit, then descends back to the start on the Rim-of-the-Valley Trail.
Hike Mt Lukens From Deukmejian Wilderness Park Map Downloads
Download the Hike GPX File
View a Printable PDF Hike Map
What You Need To Know About the Hike
- Mt Lukens is the highest point in the City of Los Angeles. Mt Baldy is the highest point in the County of Los Angeles.
- Before it was called Mt Lukens, it was called Sister Else Peak, allegedly named after a Roman Catholic nun who cared for those with smallpox. But no one is really sure who Else was. It was renamed by ranger Donald McLain (an interesting character) who declared that “mountains should be monuments to the men who have treasured and protected them. What did Sister Elsie ever do for the mountains?”
- Its current namesake, Theodore Parker Lukens, was a Pasadena mayor and businessman who also had a love for the outdoors. Lukens helped John Muir survey the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite and was a prominent member of the local Sierra Club. At the turn of the century the San Gabriels were showing the signs of abuse by miners, livestock, and loggers. Lukens started a tree nursery at Henninger Flats with mixed success, but was noted as a prominent conservationist and advocate of the mountains around LA.
- Deukmejian Wilderness Park, opened in 1989, is named after the former Armenian-American California governor (1983-1991), George Deukmejian.
- The park used to be home to one of LA’s top wine-producing regions. The large stone building that you see in the parking lot was constructed in 1914 as a barn at the center of George Le Mesnager’s vineyard, a French emigrant with an interesting history. There are still vines here, and if you join the Stone Barn Vineyard Conservancy, you get to taste a bottle of the wine as part of your membership.
- In 2009 the Station Fire burnt much of the area that you cover on this hike, leaving only the radio towers standing. Although the chaparral has grown back, you can still see evidence of the fire on some sections.
Mt Lukens Hike Directions
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Turn By Turn Directions
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.