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Strawberry Peak Hike

Strawberry Peak Hike

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Hike Directions & Hike Video
  • Strawberry Peak Trail Maps
  • How to Get to the Strawberry Peak Hike
Total Distance7.2 miles (11.6 km)
Hike Time3-4 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)1,720 feet (524m)
Highest Elevation6,165 feet (1879m)
Fees & PermitsParking Fee
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Angeles National Forest
Park Phone626-574-1613

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

Strawberry Peak 2
The Red Box Picnic Area trailhead is at the junction of Angeles Crest Highway and Mt Wilson Red Box Road. Mt Wilson Red Box Road is a popular road for people working on Mt Wilson, so you might see more traffic than you expect.
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There’s a decent amount of parking here. It can get crowded later in the day.
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Red Box Picnic Area is a pretty awesome place for a picnic. I generally come early and eat my breakfast with the sunrise, but it’s also a great place for a post-hike lunch.
Strawberry Peak 4
Right next to the picnic area is Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center which celebrates the culture and history of the first peoples of Los Angeles County,

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.

Wildcat Small

My Goto Hiking Footwear: La Sportiva Wildcat
If you hike a lot or just want the best (but not the most durable) hiking footwear, the Wildcat trail runner is your best move.  It’s fast and light on trails, the sole gives me good grip off-trail or scrambling, and they dry quickly.
Latest Price on Women’s ShoeREI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s ShoeREI | Amazon

Osprey=talon

Best All-Around Day Pack: Osprey Talon
I try so many backpacks and I can usually find something I love about all of them. But no matter how many I try, I always find that I come back to the Osprey Talon 33  (or for women, the Osprey Sirrus 36). It’s just the right balance between everything. You save weight because there is no frame, but the vented and padded back holds its shape, giving it a pseudo-frame. It’s big enough for long day hikes or overnighters, but when I don’t fill it on a shorter hike, it’s still nice and light. It’s got a sleeve for a hydration bladder and side pockets for Smartwater bottles.  I’ve been using (and beating) the same one since 2017 and it’s still going strong.
Latest Women’s Prices: REI | Amazon
Latest Men’s Prices: REI | 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.

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated January 2021.

My January 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 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.

Click Here To View Map

Download the Hike GPX FileView a Printable PDF Hike Map

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). You can also use most smartphones. Check out my navigation recommendations and resources on my top gear picks page for options at all budget levels.

Strawberry Peak Elevation
After a short uphill section in the beginning, the trail levels out for a bit before a final steep climb to the summit.
Strawberry Peak 3d Map
From the 3d map you can easily see the sections: the initial climb from the trailhead, the mellow ridge along the side of Mt Lawlor, and then the steep climb to Strawberry Peak at the end.

Strawberry Peak Hike Directions

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Video Directions

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

Turn by Turn Directions

Strawberry Peak 5
Head to the far end of the Red Box Picnic Area parking lot.
Strawberry Peak 6
The trailhead is right across the street from the picnic area.
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Once you cross the street the trailhead is easy to spot, and there’s a sign marking the trailhead as well.
Strawberry Peak 9
The trail starts to hike up above Angeles Crest Highway.
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The trail starts winding away from the road.
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You’ll get some nice views of Mt Wilson as you climb this section.
Strawberry Peak 12
The trail eventually turns away from the highway and starts heading through some brush. You’ll see some burnt trees here from the massive 2009 Station Fire.
Strawberry Peak 13
When you come up a small hill to this junction, make the right.
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And shortly after that, bear left along the ridge. The small path to the right ascends Mt Lawlor.
Strawberry Peak 15
After that last turn you’ll be hiking along the side of Mt Lawlor with incredible views to the West. Keep your eyes open for a peak with antennas on it, which is Mt Lukens, also a great hike.
Strawberry Peak 17
Eventually the trail winds around the ridge and you’ll see Strawberry Peak and the saddle in front of you. You’re heading to that saddle.
Strawberry Peak 18
At the saddle you’ll be at a junction. Head on the trail going up the hill, not the trail to the right going to Strawberry Meadow.
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It gets steep right away. Until you get to the peak it’s mainly uphill.
Strawberry Peak 20
After the first uphill you’re rewarded with a little downhill that you’ll probably hate on the way back.
Strawberry Peak 21
And you start climbing again. That’s a false peak in front of you. There’s a few of them, so set your expectations accordingly. There’s nothing like thinking that you’re about to summit, only to see more climbing ahead of you.
Strawberry Peak 22
The trail is steep and rocky, but there are no major scrambles. I see some the biggest lizards on this stretch of the hike. I don’t know why but there are some whoppers around here.
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BINGO! After a few false peaks, you’ll see the actual Strawberry Peak with the trail winding up it.
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You did it, this is the peak. There are peak signs here most of the time, hopefully when they get stolen someone will replace them.
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You’ll be able to see Mt Blady and the high peaks of Angeles National Forest.
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And on the other side, LA and Mt Lukens.
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There’s also a trail register if you want to sign in.
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From here, you just head back down the way you came. See you out there!

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.

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