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
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
Dog FriendlyLeashed
Park WebsiteAngeles National Forest
Park Phone626-574-1613
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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

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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.
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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.

Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here

Osprey Talon

Osprey Talon 33

My best lightweight pack for hikes between 3-10+ hours. I use mine with the 3L water bladder from Osprey.

Women’s Reviews

Men’s Reviews

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Garmin InReach Mini

You can text, SOS, and get weather in the backcountry where your cell phone doesn’t work. Literally a life-saver.

Lowest Prices

My In-Depth Review

La Sportiva Spire

La Sportiva Spire GTX

Modern materials mean you get the protection of a traditional hiking boot (waterproof, etc.) with feel of a sneaker.

Women’s Reviews

Men’s Reviews

Fenix 5x Hiking Nav

Garmin Fenix Map Watch

This thing does everything: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart rate, blood oxygen, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and the list goes on. I keep a GPX route on the watch so I can quickly glance down and make sure I’m in the right place.

Fenix Prices & Reviews

My In-Depth Review

Black Diamond Trekking Poles

Flash Carbon Trekking Poles

If you’re not using poles yet, you should be. This model takes a beating, is light, and is super comfortable.

See The Reviews

Socks Sock Liners

2-Layer Sock System

I use a light inner toe sock and then a top-quality outer sock to prevent blisters.

Injinji Sock Liners

Darn Tough Socks

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 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 To View Map

Strawberry Peak Hike Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

How Will You Navigate the Hike?

I recommend using a combination of paper maps, GPS, and a guide to navigate the hike. If you are tempted to just use a smartphone, please don’t. You’ll often loose cell phone reception on the trail. At the very least, print out a paper map and this guide. Better yet, check out the navigation section on my gear picks page to see the latest and greatest that I’m using. There’s even a special discount on GaiaGPS premium for HikingGuy users.

See The Nav Gear I Use

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

FYI I have a version of this video in 360/VR format. Not familiar with the benefits of 360 video? Then watch this.

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Turn by Turn Directions

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Head to the far end of the Red Box Picnic Area parking lot.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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After the first uphill you’re rewarded with a little downhill that you’ll probably hate on the way back.
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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.
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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.