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Hike Wright Mountain From Inspiration Point

Hike Wright Mountain From Inspiration Point

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to Hike Wright Mountain
  • Parking at the Inspiration Point Trailhead
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations
Total Distance (?)14 miles (22.5 km)
Hike Time5-7 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Hard
Total Ascent (?)2,600 feet (792m)
Highest Elevation8,505 feet (2592m)
Fees & PermitsParking Permit
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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While there are several ways to summit Wright Mountain in the San Gabriel Mountains, this route from Inspiration Point is my favorite. You’ll follow the spine known as the Blue Ridge, which is packed with views of the surrounding high peaks, and you’ll get to experience the iconic PCT along the way. It’s also one of the rare hikes in the area that traverses Angeles NF and San Bernardino NF on the same trail.

Where is the Inspiration Point Trailhead?

One of the reasons I like this route to Wright Mountain is that there is plenty of parking at the Inspiration Point Trailhead off Angeles Crest Highway. Inspiration Point is 5 miles west of the town of Wrightwood. Use this trailhead address:
Inspiration Point Trailhead, Angeles National Forest, Blue Ridge Truck Trail, Valyermo, CA 93563

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Inspiration Point is well marked.
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The parking lot is huge.
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There are toilets, picnic benches, and a viewpoint across the street.

You need a National Parks Pass or Adventure Pass to park here.

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The trailhead sits in the shadow of Mt Baden Powell.

Gear For the Hike

This is a mountain hike, and you need to prepare accordingly. Bring 3L of water, clothing for high altitude conditions, and trekking poles. In the winter, this area can be closed, and lingering snow can make the PCT treacherous in the shoulder seasons. If there is a chance of snow or ice, carry micro-spikes.

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.

Wright Mountain Trail Maps

Overall, navigation is relatively simple here. We’re mainly following the PCT along Blue Ridge to a turn-off for Wright Mountain. There’s one section where we’ll hop on East Blue Ridge Road, a small dirt road that gets minimal traffic when open in the summer. The final push to Wright Mountain summit is on a small use 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

Hike Wright Mountain From Inspiration Point Elevation
This one-way elevation makes it look like there are a couple of big climbs, but when you’re out on the trail, it generally feels like rolling terrain with a few steep sections thrown in.

Landmarks on the Hike

LandmarkDistanceElevation
Trailhead07381
Ski Area1.17741
Blue Ridge Camp2.17900
Hop on Road3.98460
Guffy Camp4.98250
Acorn Trail6.18250
Wright Mountain78505

3D Map

Hike Wright Mountain From Inspiration Point 3d Map
The hike is out-and-back along the Blue Ridge.

Alternate Return

If you’d like to avoid some of the up and down on the way back, you can follow East Blue Ridge Road back. It will wind back and forth over the ridge, but the gradients are smooth and gradual. Or you can choose to hop on and off the PCT and road as you go. The views from the road tend to be better than from the PCT on the way back.

Hike Brief

Historic Wright Mountain
The views on this hike are pretty much the same as they were in this photo from 1925, when it was a popular tourist attraction. Photo Security Pacific National Bank Collection

Wright Mountain Hike Directions

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Video Directions

Turn by Turn Directions

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Cross the street from the parking lot and look for the PCT trail. Don’t take the dirt road.
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There are numerous PCT signs along the way.
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Once you crest the first ridge there are great views of Pine Mountain (left) and Mt Baldy (right).
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And further to the right you can see Big Iron Mountain.
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The PCT follows the road below.
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Here’s your first road crossing. Look for the PCT sign on the other side to continue.
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And then there’s another crossing. I won’t point out all the other road crossings, but they all follow this pattern and there are several.
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The PCT moves away from the road and you are alone on the singletrack.
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The trail starts to climb and you pass the Mountain High Ski Resort runs on the left.

The first chair lifts were built here in the late 1920s in preparation for the 1932 Olympics. However, the lack of snow in the mountains changed the venue to Lake Placid.

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If you look down to the right here you have some great views into the remote Bear Gulch.
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The trail continues to climb among the gnarled and bent pines.
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You’ll pass the concrete reservoir used to make snow when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
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Continue along the ridge, crossing the road.
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And then you start a small downhill.
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You’ll pass Blue Ridge Campground on your left.
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If you need a bathroom break, there are toilets on the other side of the campground (you don’t see them from the PCT).
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Continue as the PCT crosses the Boardwalk and Catalina ski runs.
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Then the PCT joins East Blue Ridge Road for a short stretch.
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Look for the gate on the left that follows the fence.
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The fence circles another reservoir.
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At the end of the fence is a big junction. Look for the singletrack PCT on the other side.
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Now you traverse the north side of what is called Blue Ridge Summit. It’s home to radio towers and only worth a visit if you want to see the Frost Benchmark at 8480 feet.
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As you come around Blue Ridge Summit, the PCT parallels the road again.
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To the left you’ll get your first glimpse at Wright Mountain, with San Gorgonio in the distance.
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Okay, here’s the section where I recommend hopping off the PCT and joining the road because the views are spectacular. When the PCT comes close to the road, hike the 50 feet across to the road and continue east.
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Right away you’re greeted with postcard-perfect views of Mt Baldy and Pine Mountain.
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Keep hiking down East Blue Ridge Road. That’s Big Iron Mountain on the right.
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When you come around the bend, there are more great views of Mt Baldy. If you look back from here you can see Baden-Powell and even the Mt Wilson area in the distance.
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As you descend you’ll see the road unfurl in front of you.
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At the turnoff, make the left into the Guffy Campground area.
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Go straight when you reach the loop road at the campground.
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There are some sweet campsites here, which has got to be one of the best remote camps in the San Gabriels.

Guffy Camp is named after Samuel Guffy, who homesteaded in the valley and sold his land to Sumner Wright, Wrightwood’s namesake.

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As you continue around the loop you’ll see some toilets.
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At the other side of the loop, cut across and down to rejoin the PCT.
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Continue east on the PCT.
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You’ll cross Blue Ridge Road, which is much more primitive past Guffy Camp.
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And now you get close-up views of Pine Mountain.
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You’ll pass the boundary line and enter San Bernardino National Forest. if you look at the other side of this sign, it says you are entering Angeles National Forest.
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Continue on the PCT past the junction with the Acorn Trail.
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Here’s the sign at that junction.
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Keep your eyes open for a small memorial to Gerald Duran and Jodi Zatchick. They were attempting the first winter PCT hike in 1983 when they lost their lives. It’s thought that they meant to descend the nearby Acorn Trail, but instead went off-trail into Heath Canyon, where they slipped off an icy slope and fell several hundred feet to their deaths. It wasn’t until 32 years later that someone was able to complete the PCT during the winter.
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When you come to the saddle you’ll get a great view of Wright Mountain.
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Once over the saddle, look for the use trail leading up to the left.
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This trail doesn’t see a ton of traffic and can be a bit of a “choose your own adventure.” Referencing the GPX file helps here.
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Look for a flat area to the left with a flag post. There are great views down into Wrightwood. Check it out and continue up the trail.
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The summit area is wooded, and if you follow the trail, eventually you’ll see the pile of rocks and witness post marking the summit. There’s a cliff viewpoint nearby but please be careful.

From here just go back the way you came.

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When I go back from here I usually take the road for the portions on the south side of the ridge. The road has the better views on the south side. And the views don’t get old, even after 14 miles.

This guide last updated on April 21, 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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