Hike Pacifico Mountain Featured
play video
Los Angeles Hikes

Hike Pacifico Mountain on the PCT

  • 13.5 miles - Moderate Effort
  • 5-7 Hours (Total)
  • 2,350 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 7,124 feet
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed

If you want to get off the beaten path in Angeles National Forest, head over to the Pacifico Mountain hike. Pacifico Mountain, the highest peak in the northwestern part of the forest, offers unique views spanning from Mt Baldy to Los Padres National Forest to Nevada. There are several approaches to the summit of Pacifico Mountain, and we'll take what I think is the most scenic one up the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). It's a great hike without big crowds.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to Hike Pacifico Mountain on the PCT
  • Parking and Fees for the Hike
  • Camping on Pacifico Mountain
  • Insider Tips and Recommendations

Where is Pacifico Mountain?

We'll start this hike at the Mill Creek Summit Picnic Area, off of the Angeles Forest Highway (N3), a popular commuting route between the desert and LA. Use this trailhead address:
Mill Creek Summit Picnic Area, Angeles Forest Hwy, Palmdale, CA 93550

Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 4
There's a big parking area at Mill Creek that I've never seen full.

You need a National Parks pass or Adventure Pass to park here.

Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 5
There's a toilet but no water fills at the trailhead.

Gear For the Hike

Gear That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2Hit SOS or just tell loved ones that you're running late where your cell phone has no service.  Review here.
Gear Topo Pursuit
Topo Pursuit 2The best hiking footwear I've ever owned. No blisters. Get them wet, they dry quickly. Lots of cushion and comfort.
Gear Epix Pro Up Ahead
Garmin Epix ProHiking maps, route info, and fitness stats on my wrist. Review here.
Hikelite 26 Gear
Osprey Hikelite 26Lightweight, carries all your gear, and your back doesn't get sweaty. Oh yea, it's also one of the most inexpensive packs you can get.

Check out the complete list here. ( Updated July 2024)

Camping Options

This hike offers some great short overnight camping options. It's especially great if you want to camp after work and get back in the morning, as the distances aren't long, and the climbing isn't bad. You can even drive your car to the summit (I'd recommend high-clearance AWD) and just camp.

Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 1
The summit area has several camp areas where you can pull a car up and get great views.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 2
There are also at least a dozen of flat PCT primitive tent sites along the trail. The best ones are when you get to the flat section along the ridge.

Pacifico Mountain Trail Maps

Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 3
Much of the area along this hike was destroyed in the 2009 Station Fire, and you can still see evidence of it today.

We will take the PCT from Mill Creek up to a saddle, and then do the last mile on a dirt road (with great views). There aren't a lot of twists and turns, and overall the gradient is gentle.

Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

Elevation Profile

Pacifico Mountain Hike Elevation
It's a gentle climb to about the mid-way point, where you get a flat breather along the ridgeline, and then do the final climb to the summit.

3D Map

Pacifico Mountain Hike 3d Map
From Mill Creek, we ascend around the steep Tie Canyon, then up to the ridge where the views open up. From there we head along the spine to the summit.

Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions

Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 6
The trailhead is on the corner, across Pacifico Mountain Road.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 7
There's a nice big PCT marker at the start of the trail.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 8
The steepest part of the hike is right at the beginning, as the trail leaves the road.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 9
Avoid the small cutoff to the Pony Park equestrian trailhead and continue straight.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 10
Now we start the gradual climb.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 11
You'll wind around and along the folds on the side of the canyon. The views are great.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 12
As you wind into Tie Canyon, look up to see the trail continue above you.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 13
In the distance you'll be able to see the Tehachapi Mountains, which separate the Mojave from California's Central Valley to the north (Bakersfield, etc.).
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 14
Once you get around Tie Canyon, the trail doubles back with some switchbacks. In front of you is Granite Mountain at 6603 feet.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 15
And back across the valley from where you started, you can see Mount Gleason, home to the (now closed) highest elevation Nike Missile site in the country at 6523 feet. The road to the summit is paved and you can drive up there.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 16
And then you crest the ridge, and can see north into the Mojave.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 17
The trail then levels out and heads east along the ridge. In the distance, Pacifico Mountain, which looks closer than it actually is. There are a few nice primitive camping spots along this stretch.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 18
You'll leave the scrub and enter the shade of some pines that survived the forest fires. Stay straight on the PCT.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 19
The trail is level here as it hugs the ridge.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 20
Eventually you'll approach the saddle where we are going to hop onto the road.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 21
At the saddle, we're going to continue through and make the right. The PCT heads off to the left.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 22
There's a sign here that needed some TLC during my visit.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 23
At the split, go right to the road. There's also use trail on the left that climbs steeply and directly to the summit, which we're not going to take. Head to the road.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 24
Now you're on the road for the last mile to the summit.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 25
And immediately the views open up. In the clouds on the left is Saddleback Mountain, and on the right Monrovia Peak.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 26
And then Mt Wilson, Mt Disappointment, and Strawberry Peak.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 27
The road winds around to the north past some informal campsites.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 29
Look back to your right as you turn north. You'll see views of (left to right) Mt Baldy, Mt Waterman and the Twin Peaks.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 28
And to the north you'll see into the Mojave. On a clear day you can even spot Mt Charleston, which is outside of Las Vegas.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 30
When you get to the campground sign, make the hard left to hit the summit.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 31
The summit area is this group of boulders. There are some use trails heading into it.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 32
You can climb to the top of the bigger boulders to reach the "top top."
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 33
Or just check out the summit marker on the lower boulder.

Pacifico, which means peaceful, accurately describes the vibe up here. Some people think the peak is named Pacifico because you can sometimes see the ocean from here. Others speculate it was named by the bandit that the Zorro stories were based on, Tiburcio Vásquez, who had a hideout nearby at Sheep Springs.

Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 34
The views are okay from the summit boulders, but you'll want to visit the campsites around the permitter to enjoy better views.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 35
The campground has a toilet.
Pacifico Mountain Hike Directions 36
Enjoy the summit, and then head back down the way you came up.

You can also make this a loop by taking the road back down, but I find the hike on the PCT to be much nicer.

Need More Info?

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.