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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 Distance (?)7.2 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
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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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.
Strawberry Peak 3
There’s a decent amount of parking here. It can get crowded later in the day.
Strawberry Peak 7
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.

FYI ➤ Huge REI July 4th Sale On Now

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 Terraventure 3 or 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 June 2022.

My June 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.

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

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 ).

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.
Strawberry Peak 8
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.
Strawberry Peak 10
The trail starts winding away from the road.
Strawberry Peak 11
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.
Strawberry Peak 14
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.
Strawberry Peak 19
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.
Strawberry Peak 23
BINGO! After a few false peaks, you’ll see the actual Strawberry Peak with the trail winding up it.
Strawberry Peak 24
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.
Strawberry Peak 27
You’ll be able to see Mt Baldy and the high peaks of Angeles National Forest.
Strawberry Peak 28
And on the other side, LA, Josephine Peak and Mt Lukens.
Strawberry Peak 25
There’s also a trail register if you want to sign in.
Strawberry Peak 26
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.

This guide last updated on May 4, 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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