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.
Garmin inReach Mini
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.
Latest Prices: Amazon | REI | Backcountry
My Review & Guide
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.
Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon | Backcountry
Men’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon | Backcountry
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 | Black Diamond
Z-Poles: MacPac | REI | Amazon | Black Diamond
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated November 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?
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 6. 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.
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 29, 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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