Hiked yesterday. Accessed via Pinecrest. This makes the hike approximiately 9.1 miles each way. Unfortunately, I forgot to start my Alltrails recording before I started, so I just recorded the return leg. Screenshot at the end of this post.
I checked on Alltrails, and saw several mentions of an aggressive beehive along the Mount Wilson trail. Also, the Toll Road is wider, so I figured maintaining social distance would be easier. So I chose to go up that way.
Alltrails gives the distance from Pinecrest as 9 miles, each way. That would make it 20 miles roundtrip, if you start near the nature center. I hadn't realized it was that far. In any event, I started up near Pinecrest, to avoid at least some of the crowds.
Always a mixture of people on the Toll Road: Joggers, slow walkers, fast walkers, mountain bikers. I walked moderately fast up. In fact, I made it in about four hours, which seemed faster than I normally make it. On the other hand, I was pretty tired once up there, so took advantage of the cafe.
I had a pricey but tasty turkey sandwich, chips, and a ice cold cup of lemonade for $16. Yes, pricey, but yummy, and I assume the profits indirectly support the historic Observatory, so I'm okay with that.
The Toll Road eventually goes north of Hastings Peak, as well. That's connected to Jones Peak, via a firebreak, which you can access via Bailey Canyon or Little Santa Anita Canyon. That's a shorter but steeper route to Mount Wilson. In fact, the Mount Wilson trail is supposed to be several miles shorter than the Toll Road, as well, despite having a greater altitude gain (so lower starting altitude, I guess).
Shortly after the intersection with the fire break from Hastings Peak (coming in from the right), there's a left turn to see Mount Harvard. That's when you know you're in the home stretch.
It's only as you passed the intersection with the Mount Wilson and Winter Creek trails and continuned north that you saw some actual impact from the Bobcat Fire. This is sort of why I was surprised the closed the whole area off, in the first place: The fire was mostly kept away from the Toll Road.
Made my way to the cafe, and had my lunch. I specifically wanted the icy cup so I could add the Powerade I brought up in my backpack. So I drank all of the original lemonade and maybe 3/4 of a container of Powerade, along with my lunch. And, yet, very little pee before I left, so clearly I wad dehydrated.
The native California grey squirrel was taken up near the top; the color-changing poison oak was above Henninger Flats. Long, slow return. Didn't get back to my car until after 4:40pm, so a bit over 8 hours for the day. That's typical for me on this trail, except, this time, my speed up was somewhat faster than usual, as was my rest, at the top.18.2 miles total distance, and about 4,600 feet of vertical climbing.