Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Rest of the Way to Mount Wilson

The last post took us to the Idlehour junction. After the closed Idlehour fork, the trail runs through a somewhat shaded area. In the winter, it was noticeably cooler here than it was back at Henninger.

The rest of the way, there are sections of the trail with a nice view to the west, and to the east. If there's snow in the mountains, it can look like you're a thousand miles from Los Angeles.

San Gabriel Peak

Mt. Baldy and First Quarter Moon

Backrange of the San Gabriel Mountains from the Toll Road

Other landmarks as you head up: About 2.25 miles from the top, you'll notice a firebreak coming up from the south (right). This provides an unofficial trail from Jones Saddle to the Mount Wilson Toll Road, passing over Hastings Peak along the way.

Firebreak to Jones Saddle. This and pictures above all taken within a few days of a significant snow event. Normally, snow isn't an issue on this hike, but it can be!

Jones Saddle is primarily accessed via the Bailey Canyon Trialhead. It's about three miles from Bailey Canyon Park to Jones Saddle. From the Saddle, you either go about a quarter of a mile up to Jones Peak, or you go a little over half a mile of sometimes-very steep climbing to the north, to the Toll Road. There's also a trail that drops from just north of the Saddle down to the Mount Wilson Trail.

Less than .25 miles after the intersection with the fireroad, you'll come across a large boulder blocking the toll road. Foot, bike, or horse traffic can make their way around the boulder.

Another 1/4 mile or so and you'll come across the junction with the Mount Wilson Trail, also coming in from the right. The trail mileage marker at this junction says it's 1.75 miles from Mount Wilson.

From here, you can tell you're getting close. You'll have Mount Harvard and its set of trasmmission towers to the right, but you'll soon be able to see Mount Wilson's solar observatories and tranmission towers in front of you. Once you put Harvard behind you, you'll be able to see the last stretch of the Toll Road running left, then right, to the summit. Just as you make it around Harvard (where the road forks, with one branch heading to Mount Wilson in front of you, and one heading the short distance to the peak of Mount Harvard, to your left), you'll also have the choice of a trail that leaves the Road and heads more directly to the Mount Wilson summit. It's at least 1/2 mile shorter if you take the trail, so you should take it unless snow and ice make that route dangerous.

If you take the trail, the trail reaches the summit in a large clearning/parking lot.

Just ahead of you, you'll see the pavilion that used to be (and may someday again be) a snack bar. Today, it's just some benches, with the pavilion providing you with some shielding against the elements.

There's a road that runs east-west, just norht of the pavilion. Follow the main road further east, and you soon pass the solar observatory towers, on your right. There's also an astronomy museum on the left side of the road. Then the 60-inch telescope dome, back on your right. Further along, the road curves to the left and runs right into the 100-inch telescope dome.

Just past the 60-inch telescope is where the Sturdevant Trail comes up from Big Santa Anita Canyon (Chantry Flats). That means if you come up from Chantry, you can make a nice loop through the top of the Mount Wilson by coming up the Winter Creek/Manzanita Ridge/Mount Wilson trail, then returning via the Sturdevant Trail, or vice versa.

However, if you came up from Eaton Canyon, you've pretty much got to return the way you came.

No comments:

Post a Comment