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Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell From Dawson Saddle

Throop Peak + Mount Burnham + Baden-Powell From Dawson Saddle

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Hike
  • Where to Park for Dawson Saddle
  • Insider Tips and Recommendations
Total Distance (?)9 miles (14.5 km)
Hike Time4-5 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)2,700 feet (823m)
Highest Elevation9,399 feet (2865m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Angeles National Forest
Park Phone747-322-6574
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This hike, which takes in Throop Peak, Mount Burnham, and Mount Baden-Powell from Dawson Saddle, has dramatic high-mountain scenery and interesting history. This ridge of peaks was initially referred to as “North Baldy Mountain,” with Throop Peak being the “West Twin” and Baden-Powell being the “East Twin.” Whatever you want to call it now, this is a great hike, with three peaks to bag, expansive views, and well-groomed trails, including the PCT.

Where is Dawson Saddle?

This hike starts from Dawson Saddle, along Angeles Crest Highway (CA-2). Use this address:
Dawson Saddle, CA-2, California 91702

Check the road conditions before you go, this section of CA-2 can close in the winter.

Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 3
Look for this big turnout on the side of the road and park here. We’re going to start the hike just west of here, about 100 feet further down the road at the Caltrans structure.

You do not need a parking pass or permit at Dawson Saddle.

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There’s a trail board by the parking area. Dawson Saddle is the highest point on the Angeles Crest Highway.
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There are two trailheads, one about 100 east of the trailhead, and one about 100 west of the trailhead. We’ll start this hike at the one west of the trailhead, a 2 minute walk along the road, directly across from the Caltrans maintenance shed. The trail starts right across CA-2 from this shed. Also note the burn by the shed, which was on the eastern edge of the 2020 Bobcat Fire.
Throop Peak Parking Map
Here’s the parking area, shed, and trailhead on a map.

Gear For the Hike

This is a high-altitude hike in the mountains, and you should be prepared accordingly. I find that 2L of water is usually enough, and that trekking poles are helpful on some of the steeper slopes.

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Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

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

Lone Peak 5

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 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 | 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.

My November 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 keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.

Trail Maps

This hike will take a combination of established trails, and smaller (yet well-trodden) unofficial trails. If you have a GPS and load the GPX file, these smaller trail turnoffs should be obvious. And if not, there are plenty of footprints to go by.

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?
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.

Elevation Profile

Throop Peak Elevation Profile
This hike has some up and down, which can make it feel tougher than a single long climb. On the way back you can skip the climbs to Burnham and Throop and just cruise (mostly) downhill.

3D Map

Throop Peak 3d Map
From CA-2 we’ll climb up to Throop Peak, and then follow the ridge along to Baden-Powell, traversing what was once known as North Baldy Mountain.

Hike Brief

Throop Historic Topo
If you look at this 1901 USGS topographic map, you can see that peaks (like Mt Islip in the lower-left) have a black dot marking the summit. Here “North Baldy” marks the entire ridge, with no summit point. You can see the hike route along the North Baldy ridge in purple.

North Baldy Ridge Hike Directions

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Video Directions

Turn by Turn Directions

Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 4
Start the trail, across the road from the Caltrans shed. The beginning is steep but it gets better.
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You’ll start climbing up above CA-2.
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Make the hard right at the intersection of the trail to the other side of the parking area.
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You’ll get nice views to the west of Mt Lawlor, Twin Peaks & Mt Waterman.
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When you gain the ridge and turn the corner, Throop Peak is right in front of you.
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You have a nice straight trail that climbs up along the ridge.
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To the right you’ll see the antennas on top of Mt Wilson.
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And also see back to the distinctive Strawberry Peak. For great views of the other side of Strawberry Peak, try hiking to Josephine Peak.
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And then on the left you’ll eventually see the peaks we’ll be hiking later, Mount Burnham and Baden-Powell. We’ll be following the ridge.
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When you get to an area with lots of campsites on your right, look for a small side trail heading up Throop Peak.
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The beginning can be confusing because of the tent sites, but you should be able to see a distinct trail climbing toward Throop.
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The trail winds up the spine.
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And does have a few steep and rocky parts.
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Take a break on the steep climb and look east toward the Mojave. On a clear day you can see Telescope Peak, the highest point in Death Valley NP.
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Eventually the top comes into view.
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And here you are at the summit area of Throop Peak.
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There’s a memorial placard and if you’re lucky, a summit sign.
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From Throop Peak you’ll get great views, including Santiago Peak to the south.
Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 23
And to the east, you can see Mt Baldy and even Sugarloaf, which is close to Big Bear.
Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 24
Head down the other side of the summit.
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The trail down will bear to the left.
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Follow the steep path downhill toward the ridge.
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Make the left onto the PCT.
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And then continue to the right along the ridge on the PCT. When you come back, just go straight here to bypass the climb to Throop Peak.
Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 29
Here’s the massive sign at the PCT junction. We’re heading toward Mt Baden-Powell.
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This part of the hike is beautiful as it follows the ridge.
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Eventually you’ll get views of Burnham and Baden-Powell ahead.
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When you reach the base of Mount Burnham, look for a small trail climbing to the right.
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The climb to Burnham is steep at first.
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But then mellows out a bit.
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Look for the marker to the right of the summit area.
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Here you are, Mt Burnham.
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Similar to Throop, we’re going to continue down the other side of the summit to rejoin the PCT.
Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 38
When you reach the PCT, bear right to continue towards Baden-Powell.
Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 39
Then you’ll have another spectacular hike along the spine of the mountain.
Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 40
The PCT heads to the left side of the ridge.
Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 41
And then at the base of Baden-Powell, look for a small side trail heading uphill.
Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 42
It’s a short but steep climb to the summit.
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But soon you’ll see the Baden-Powell monument ahead.
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And then past that, the summit!

From here, just turn around and head back.

Throop Peak Mount Burnham Baden Powell Directions 45
You can skip the use trails to Burnham and Throop summits if you just follow the PCT and Dawson Saddle Trails straight. The trail will wind along the east side of the ridge, skipping the summits.

This guide last updated on November 21, 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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