Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hike 2011.098 -- Little Santa Anita Canyon to First Water

Hiked Tuesday, December 27. I actually planned on doing the Winter Creek Loop out of Chantry. However, by the time I got done with the DMV this morning and drove up Santa Anita, it was about 11:30am. The lot at Chantry was way passed full. So I drove back down Santa Anita and made a right at Grand View. I took that over about one mile to Mountain Trail Avenue, then took a right up to the base of the mountains. There's a small park right after Mountain Trail curves left and turns into Mira Monte. That's Mount Wilson Trail Park. I parked in front of the park.

There's a grassy area there, and s flush toilet there. Not sure when they put that in there, but it's apparently been years. Just never noticed it before.

At the west end of the park, there's a small museum that I've never actually seen open. A short, private road, called Mount Wilson Trail, heads north, just west of the museum. There are sometimes a few parking spaces at the bottom west end of this road.

Most people park on Mira Monte Avenue and walk up Mount Wilson Trail. After less than 1/10th of a mile, there's a trailhead sign. According to the sign, it's 1.5 miles to First Water, 1.9 miles to Lost Canyon (which is unsigned on the trail, but which I'm pretty sure is the canyon where the trail from Jones Peak comes down to join the Mt. Wilson Trail), 7 miles to Mount Wilson, and mileage to several other points along the way.

After .2 miles, the hiking trail briefly rejoins the private, paved, Mount Wilson Trail. The pavement ends, and motorized travel is prohibited beyond that point.

Mount Wilson trail (the hiking trail) is pretty steep. I don't think it's as steep as the trail from Bailey Canyon to Jones Peak, and it's definitely wider. But it is still steep.

As you climb, there is usually running water far below you, down at the bottom of Little Santa Anita Canyon. A couple of waterfalls are visible far below.

At the top of this post is a wide view of part of Little Santa Anita Canyon. Here is a crop of that picture, with some hikers visible to put things in perspective.

Reaching First Water requires a short detour off the main trail. You descend about 30 vertical feet over the course of maybe 100 yards. I suspect the majority of hikers and joggers on this trail stop here and turn around.

It's a pleasant place, with the gurgling of water, splashing over rocks and between broken logs.

Decided to call it a day hike there, and headed on down the mountain. Took plenty more pictures on the way down, especially of the few flowers I saw.

These guys looked like the picture of Wishbone Bush. I also saw flowers that look exactly what I have seen elsewhere identified as Cliff Aster, but which is listed as Twiggy-wreath Plant in "Wild-flowers of the San Gabriel Mountains." Buckwheat were also in bloom.

If the signs are accurate, I walked no more than 3.2 miles today. Played some half-court basketball later, though. :D A high school friend is visiting the area for the holidays. We're all absolutely horrible, but it's still exercise.


  1. Refugio is such a beautiful beach and mountain area, I could only imagine how great it would be to hike there! I have hiked in Gaviota and Santa Barbara as well so I am assuming it isn't too much different. This is making me want to go hiking in SB so badly! I'll have to plan a trip to check out Refugio, so I can cross it off of my bucket list! I'll stay in Santa Barbara of course! At the Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com). So beyond inexpensive and close to countless trails I'm always trekking to!

  2. I've been to Refugio a few times in my travels on the Central Coast but it is so far out from Santa Barbara, once I get there I couldn't imagine making that drive to leave it before I have to! Looks pretty enough that I might have to the next time I am there. I've always wanted to hike in the day and camp on the beach by night, hopefully when the nights warm up a bit I'll be able to finally do this! Though when I am in Santa Barbara I really enjoy staying at the South Coast Inn (www.santa-barbara-hotel.com). Elegant and one of the nicer hotels in the area!