Sunset Peak Trail Hike (Angeles National Forest)
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||7.5 miles (12.1 km)|
|Hike Time||2:30-3:30 (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||1,300 feet (396m)|
|Highest Elevation||5,796 feet (1767m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Angeles National Forest|
The Sunset Peak hike, with its gentle yet steady uphill, offers lots of beauty for all levels of hiker. For beginners, Sunset Peak lets you dip your toe into the high peaks of Angeles National Forest without anything too hairy. And for the experienced hiker, the sweeping panoramic views give you a unique perspective of all the big-name peaks. Overall Sunset Peak is a great hike that I recommend for everyone to enjoy.
Where is the Sunset Peak Trail?
There are a few routes to Sunset Peak, and I’ll show you the most common (and easiest) from Cow Canyon Saddle. The only downside is that parking is limited to the side of the road. Use this trailhead address:
Sunset Peak Trail, Glendora Ridge Rd, Mt Baldy, CA 91759
Three are no facilities at the trailhead, and also no fee or pass is needed to park here.
Gear For the Hike
Although the hike is not technical, you are in the mountains, and I recommend light hiking gear. 1-2L of water will be fine depending on the conditions, and there’s intermittent shade on the route. Insects can be a problem on this lower peak, so prepare accordingly.
Altra Lone Peak 5
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. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.
Latest Price on Women’s Shoe – REI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s Shoe – REI | Amazon
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.
Gaia GPS Mapping App
Smartphones are not backcountry instruments, but almost everyone has one today. And they all have GPS onboard. So I recommend getting a good GPS hiking app like Gaia GPS that supports offline maps. Just make sure to put your phone in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. GaiaGPS not only has smartphone and tablet apps, but also an online planning tool. You can drag the GPX hike tracks from my (or any) guides into the online map and they will sync to your phone. 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.
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated September 2021.
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.
Sunset Peak Trail Maps
This hike takes the Sunset Ridge Fire Road, also known as the Sunset Ridge Trail, up to Sunset Peak, and is very easy to follow. The fire road is pleasant and peaceful.
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.
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). The GPS smartwatch is nice because it’s rugged, works if your phone dies, and also has a billion other features like sleep tracking, workout recording, etc.
Sunset Peak Trail Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
Why is it called Sunset Peak? Aside from the obvious one (it’s a nice place to watch the sunset), I can share this. Until the late 1940s, Mt Baldy Village used to be Camp Baldy, a resort that was (at one point) run by the Curry family, who you might know from Curry Village in Yosemite. In the 1920s Camp Baldy Resort visitors would hike up here on the old “Sunset Trail” to view the sun going down. The name “Sunset Peak” appeared soon after on official maps in 1926.
This guide last updated on September 10, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
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