Strawberry Peak Hike
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance||7.2 miles (11.6 km)|
|Hike Time||3-4 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||1,720 feet (524m)|
|Highest Elevation||6,165 feet (1879m)|
|Fees & Permits||Parking Fee|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Angeles National Forest|
This Strawberry Peak hike offers a ton of great scenery in a relatively short distance. You wind around a ridge on Mt Lawlor with spectacular views, then do a short but tough climb to Strawberry Peak, the highest point in the front range of the San Gabriels at 6,164ft. You’ll earn great views of LA, Mt Wilson, and Mt Baldy. It’s a fun hike on its own, but even more attractive if you want to get a mountain climb in to build confidence for the higher peaks in the area.
Why is it called Strawberry Peak? Because it looks like an upside-down strawberry. So there’s that.
Where is Strawberry Peak?
The trailhead for Strawberry Peak is in the easy to find Red Box Picnic area. You need a National Parks Pass or Adventure Pass to park here. There are primitive bathrooms and picnic benches, but no other services.
Use this trailhead address:
Red Box Picnic Area, Angeles Crest Hwy, Azusa, CA 91101
Gear For the Hike
One of the convenient things about Strawberry Peak is that you can generally climb it year round. It does occasionally get snow, but it tends to melt quickly. A more common scenario is sun and heat; there’s minimal cover on this hike. It’s generally best to leave very early when it’s cool in the warmer month. Sunscreen and 2L of water are a safe bet here.
The last section is steep and if you like trekking poles on climbs or descents, this is a great place to have them.
There’s also a decent amount of brush along the trail, so long hiking pants are nice unless you have lizard skin legs like me.
If you want to check if there’s snow on your hike, read this guide.
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 (or Amazon).
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated September 2020.
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.
Strawberry Peak Trail Maps
There are a few ways to hike Strawberry Peak, but this route from Red Box Picnic Area is probably the most common route and doesn’t involve any scrambling. I highly recommend this route because you have great parking, bathrooms, and a very scenic route to the summit.
There are also some small side trails to Mt Lawlor and other points. In general, the side trails off this hike are pretty rough, so if you decide to improvise and mix up the route, just a heads up.
Download the Hike GPX FileView a Printable PDF Hike Map
Your best move to navigate this hike is to take a paper map, compass, and a GPS device. Load the GPX track from this hike onto your GPS to ensure that you’re on the trail. I’m a big fan of GPS watches; I just glance down at it to cross-check my position and use paper when I want a deeper dive. The GPS watch that I’m using now is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (price: REI or Amazon). It’s pricey but has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of other wellness, fitness, and smart-watch applications. For a more affordable option, check out the value-packed Garmin Instinct (price: REI or Amazon), a similar watch without some of the features. There are also great smartphone GPS apps like GaiaGPS. If you end up getting GaiaGPS premium, I’ve arranged for a 20-40% discount for my readers.
Strawberry Peak Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
Check out the nearby Switzer Falls hike for a mellow, post-Strawberry Peak experience.
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.