SoCal Training Trips

 

You don't need to train anywhere near as hard for a trip up the main trail as you do for the 22 mile torture test, which is the day hike. In our opinion your train to carry your pack 6 miles, +3,600', the distance and gain from Whitney Portal to Trail Camp, and if you can arrange it, you should include a trip to the Sierra prior to your Whitney trip to find our what it is like to backpack over 10,000' and to find whether you or anyone in your party has elevation related issues in time to do something about before your big day.

 

Or you can be loon and go all out like us, see our current fitness program in the day hike section.

 

A word about waypoints...These are done in UTM format because they are easier than lat/long to figure out your location. However, there is some prep work which is required if you use USGS quads. You will have to line in a UTM grid on your map. Once you do this you will need to read just a little on UTM.  You will be able to figure your rough position by just looking at the map, for a more accurate position buy a UTM grid for your maps.

 

These waypoints were done with a Garmin Etrex Legend with Garmin's Map Source Software using 1927 Datum so they would match the 7.5' USGS maps we use. In addition to the GPS we use National Geographic Topographic Mapping software for routes, elevation profiles, an overview map when more than one quad is required and to check the waypoints. If you use a mapping program, GPS and physical maps make sure all the datums agree or your waypoints will not match up, we had a campsite waypoint end up in the middle of a lake.

 

The addition of waypoints will be done on an incremental basis. If they aren't listed it's because we haven't done the trail with our GPS.


Kennedy Meadow to Confluence of Trout Creek and the South Fork of the Kern River...Pictures of this Trip
Distance: 15.5 miles Round Trip
Starting Elevation: 5,980'
High Point: 5,980'
Maps: Crag Peak and Rockhouse Basin 7.5' USGS Quads


Directions: From the Los Angeles or SFV take 405 or 5 to 14 north about 10 miles east of when 14 merges with 395 make a left at Kennedy Meadow Rd. (signed). 26 miles later you take Beach Meadow Rd. at the Kennedy Meadow General Store. The trailhead is on the east side of the Kern but the parking is on the west side.

 

From OC and IE get to I-15 north and head through the Cajon Pass and exit at 395 in Hesperia. Continue to Kennedy Meadow Rd and make a left. 26 miles later you take Beach Meadow Rd. at the Kennedy Meadow General Store. The trailhead is on the east side of the Kern but the parking is on the west side.


Description: This is an good easy early season trip on the Pacific Crest Trail but don't let the -200' difference fool you the terrain is sandy and rolling. According to people we've talked to there isn't a lot of traffic on the portion of trail thus you have to pay attention to where you are going. Once you pass through a small gorge at about 3.5 miles the trail moves away from the river into what was open forest before the Manter Fire. You will eventually reach a wide wash which is marked as creek on the map but is actually a trail, this will become apparent as you descend towards the river. Shortly, you will come to a signed junction. Take the Dome Land Trail/Trout Creek option. In short order, you will reach the river and sign which says Trail,  meaning this is where you are suppose to cross the river into the main area of the Dome Land Wilderness. However, this is the end of the line for this trip. Take a look around the area there are a bunch of good campsites and the chances are you will be the only one here. Make sure you explore the rock formations in the area you will find the local Indian population use the area to mill pine nuts.

 

Trail Notes

The 1987 Rockhouse Basin map show the PCT crossing and recrossing the S.F. of the Kern south of Pine Creek once you get through a small gorge. However, the trail stays on the east side of the river and moves progressively away from the river. This trip is a combination of sagebrush, open forest and the effects of the Manter Fire are evident but shouldn't affect your decision about making this trip. If this is an early season trip forget about crossing the river it runs way too fast and is too cloudy to determine its depth.

This trip is best done in April or earlier.


Humber Park to Red Tahquitz Day Hike
Distance: 10 miles Semi Loop Trip
Starting Elevation: 6,400'
High Point: 8,850' (Red Tahquitz)
Maps: San Jacinto Peak 7.5' USGS Quads
Directions: Exit 10 in Beaumont follow the signs to CA 243 into the San Jacinto Mountains to Idyllwild. Once in Idyllwild make a left onto North Circle Drive, the main drag in town. Continue east and make a right on South Circle Dr. then a quick left onto Fern Valley Rd which will take you to road's end in about 2 miles.


Description: This is one of our favorite SoCal trips. The hike starts beneath Tahquitz Rock and if listen real hard you will hear the climbers hollering to one another. As you start to gain elevation views of San Jacinto's western escarpment open up. You can tell this is going to be special trip. At 2.2 miles you gain Saddle Junction a good place to have a snack or half your lunch. The next 1.5 miles is over rolling terrain just back from the escarpment. At the junction for Tahquitz Lookout remain on the trail (PCT) and descend into Little Tahquitz Valley. When the trail starts to climb again your views will open up to the north toward the upper plateau and Mt. San Jacinto. Just before the trail heads south into Desert Divide country there will be a very steep use trail on your right, ascend this trail eastern most of the twin peaks which are Red Tahquitz.

 

Retrace your steps to the junction to Skunk Cabbage Meadow and return to Saddle Junction via this trail, it will save you the hard climb back to the Tahquitz Lookout Junction.

Trail Notes

This is a more than likely will be dry hike so bring plenty of water, there are a few water sources but they dry up very early in the season...This trail is controlled by the USFS (not the California State Parks System) and is under tight permit control so get your permit early.

 

PCT Thru Hikers seem to have a problem with location ambiguity in this area when there is still snow on the ground in May. Therefore, we suggest you do not exceed your land navigation skill level when hiking in this area. A GPS would come in handy for this trip early in the year.


Kearsarge Lakes Backpacking Trip...with a side trip to Mt. Gould
Distance: 16 miles Out and Back Trip
Starting Elevation: 9,200'
High Point: 13,005' (Mt. Gould)
Maps: Kearsarge Peak and Mt. Clarence King 7.5' USGS Quads
Waypoints (UTM Zone 11S):
Kearsarge Pass Trailhead:........0380384/4070280
Golden Trout Lakes Junction: 0380206/4070596
John Muir Wilderness:..............0380101/4070289
Little Pothole Lake:.....................0379569/4069994
Gilbert Lake:.................................0379132/4070028
Matlock Lake Junction:.............0378778/4069915
Kearsarge Pass:...........................0377220/4070398
Kearsarge Lakes Campsite: ...0376111/4069581


Directions: Get yourself to 395 either through Mojave (CA 14) or Hesperia (I-15). Once in Independence go west at the flashing light and 13 miles later you will be in Onion Valley


Description: Depending on the severity of the winter this trip can be done with 3 season gear in the month of June. The trip starts out at the Onion Valley Trailhead, which has the reputation of being Ursa City,  and gains steadily as you travel west through a lake filled drainage but the last place to top off you water stores easily is and without a total attack by the skeeters is Gilbert Lake.

 

As you approach the pass you enter the land of alpine hiking but only briefly. The views from the 11,740' pass are absolutely fabulous. Now, it's time for a very steep descent into the Kearsarge Lakes Basin and the search for a campsite, do not take the first site you see unless you want a lot of company, there are plenty of them in this lakes basin.

 

On the way out we would suggest a trip to Mt. Gould and its awe inspiring views of Sierra at 13,005'. Start at the pass and work your way up through the rocks in an easterly direction until you reach the headwall coming up from Golden Trout Lakes. By this time you will be just below the ridge. Stay to the south side of the ridge and work you way to the top of the ridge just below and to the east of the summit. From here it's pretty straightforward to the summit block which requires a very easy Class 3 move at the end. Rather than return doing the same route we would suggest you take the course of least resistance, down through the scree slopes, which will put you on the trail a 100 yards or so east of the pass and your stashed gear, don't forget the scree gaiters.

 

Trail Notes

Kearsarge Pass should be clear of snow fairly early in the season because of its orientation, on the south slope of Mt. Gould. On 4th of July 2004 there wasn't any snow to be seen. If you are going to use the Onion Valley Trailhead to start your Whitney adventure this trip will give you an idea what most of the first day will be like, if you are going to start at Horseshoe Meadows we suggest a trip up Cottonwood Pass or toward New Army Pass. We found both these trips helpful in finalizing our trip plans.


Mt. Badden-Powell Day Hike
Distance: 8 miles Round Trip
Starting Elevation: 6,500'
High Point: 9,399' (Mt. Badden-Powell)
Maps: Crystal Lake 7.5' USGS Quads


Directions: From I-15 Exit CA 138 and head west. At Angeles Crest Hwy. make a left (south) and continue through Wrightwood. About 10 miles from Wrightwood the Vincent Gulch parking lot is on the left (south) side of the road.


Description: This is one of the premier hiking trails in SoCal. The trail is a smooth and clean as anything this side of Mt. Waterman. The trail is just constant gain through forest all the way to the top, there aren't many viewpoints until you reach the summit ridge. The peak setting is board and the views are outstanding in all directions.

 

Trail Notes

If you have two cars you can do this trip as point to point hike. Leave one car at Vincent Gulch and travel 5 miles west to the Dawson Saddle Trailhead at 7,901' and head up trail there. You can bag Mts. Throop and Burnham along the way...To make it a four bagger head up Mt. Lewis, just on the other is of the CalTrans building at Dawson Saddle. The trail to Mt. Lewis is mucho steep.


Mt. Baldy via The Ski Hut Trail Day Hike
Distance: 8 miles Round Trip
Starting Elevation: 6,200'
High Point: 10,064' (Mt. Baldy)
Maps: Mt. San Antonio 7.5' USGS Quads
Waypoints (UTM Zone 11S):
Manker Flats Trailhead:............0442361/3791663
Ski Hut Trail Junction: ...............0442131/3791863
Ski Hut:.............................................0441299/3793331
Ridge Above Baldy Bowl:..........0440755/3792973
Use Trail to Plane Wreckage: 0440501/3793564
Mt. Baldy:........................................0440579/3794200


Directions: From I-10 exit either Mountain or Euclid and head north, both will eventually funnel into Mt. Baldy Road. Continue on Mt. Baldy Road to Manker Flats.


Description: This is our favorite way to do Mt. Baldy although it is one of the harder ways. You start up a gated road at Manker Flats and will pass San Antonio Falls at .75 mile, at this point the road switchbacks to the east and in about .25 miles there is an unsigned trail on your left, it maybe marked by a cairn. At this point trail becomes  noticeably steeper as it starts switchbacking up toward the Sierra Club Ski Hut on the edge of Baldy Bowl. Just beyond the Ski Hut, at 2.0 miles, is San Antonio Creek and your last chance for water. The trail now crosses the talus field which is Baldy Bowl before switchbacking up to a ridge for your final climb to the austere summit.

 

Trail Notes

When we do this trip on the weekends we will take the ski lift down and walk back to Manker Flats on Mt. Baldy Rd.. Once you ascend via the Ski Hut Trail you'll know why we take the chicken route down. If you what solitude on the weekends go elsewhere.


Angelus Oaks to Jenks Lake Rd. A Nine Peak Challenge
Distance: 29 miles Point to Point Trip
Starting Elevation: 5,960'
High Point: 11,500' (Mt. San Gorgonio)
Maps: Big Bear Lake, Forest Falls, Moonridge, San Gorgonio Mountain 7.5' USGS Quads
Waypoints (UTM Zone 11S):
Angelus Oaks Trailhead:................................0502011/3778157
Wilderness Boundary:.....................................0502786/3777605
Manzanita Flat Lunch Spot:...........................0504862/3777613
John's Meadow/ Columbine Spring Jct.: 0505668/3777417
Limber Bench Trail Camp:...............................0506063/3776083
Limber Bench Spring:........................................0506525/3776119
Washington Monument:.....................................0506366/3775301
San Bernardino Peak:.........................................0507157/3775528
Alto Diablo:............................................................0511689/3776043
High Meadow Spring Jct.:...............................0512485/3775927
Dollar Lake Saddle:............................................0512873/3775081
Charlton Peak:.......................................................0513497/3774697
Jepson Peak:..........................................................0514318/3773383
Mt. San Gorgonio:.................................................0516153/3772978
South Fork Meadow:...........................................0514396/3776561
Poopout Hill:............................................................0513276/3778373
Jenks Lake Road Trailhead:............................0511843/3779954


Directions: Exit I-10 at University in Redlands. Go north to Lugonia (Rt. 38) and head east to Jenks Lake Rd. and make a right. Trailhead parking is about 3 miles from Rt. 38 on your left. Leave on car here and back track to the Angelus Oaks trailhead.


Description: This is a great way to explore the high peaks of San Gorgonio Wilderness but you will need a couple of cars to do so.

Day #1 - Angelus Oaks to Limber Bench

You begin with a constantly steep gain of 3,300' over 6 miles to a wind swept bench with great views to Mt. Baldy, the distance and elevation gain is similar what you would see on the Whitney Portal to Trail Camp leg of a main trail trip. Limber Bench is dry but there is water about 1/4 mile further up the trail at turn of the switchback. This is generally a year round water source but check with the folks at the Mill Creek Ranger Station they will surely give you a confusing response.

 

Day # 2- Limber Bench to High Meadow Spring
Peaks visited: San Bernardino Peak, San Bernardino East Peak, Anderson Peak, Shields Peak and Alto Diablo

Its time to work you way up the switchbacks to the ridge you will be traveling on for the next two days. The first truly outstanding view will be just before you get to Washington's Monument, when you get there you will know you are there. After a walk up to the monument it's on to San Bernardino Peak, the entrance is on the east side but you can cut up to the peak way before this trace trail.

 

Now, its on to a bump called San Bernardino East over rolling terrain. Summit this and add it to your list, it's really nothing to write home about.

After you exit SBE you enter the prettiest part of the trip, the ridge between SBE and Shields. The first peak you will come to is Anderson, exit the main trail via a trace trail to the summit. It's a worthy experience compared to SBE. Then, it's on to the Shields rockpile.

 

Enter Shields from the west, it's marked with a cairn, and pick your way through the rocks to the summit. Angle off the summit to the east and the trail below. Then it's down through Shield Flat and up to Alto Diablo and it's approximately 20' climb front the trail to summit, this is the only cheapie in the bunch. After exiting  Alto Diablo it's about 3/4 mile to High Meadow Spring Camp and its reliable water. Once you find the meadow you'll find the water and tent sites.

 

Day #3 - High Meadow Spring Trail Camp to Jenks Lake Rd.
Peaks visited: Charlton Peak, Little Charlton Peak, Jepson Peak and Mt. San Gorgonio

This is a bear of a day. Proceed through Dollar Lake Saddle to approximately 10,400' just below the saddle of Charlton and Little Charlton and ditch your packs, if you have a GPS waypoint their location, with a summit pack and plenty of water head up to saddle, or angle toward Charlton. After a sip or two of water and a picture or two head across the saddle for the scramble up to Little Charlton, repeat what you did at Charlton then its over the top of the peak and down to meet up with the trail at Dry Lake View Trail Camp. Follow the trail around to about 10,900' and head up to Jepson. Repeat the same things you did at Charlton and Little Charlton. Head east cross country from Jepson meeting up with the trail which is visible from Jepson. Now, it's on to the big prize, San Gorgonio. First you pass the Vivian Creek Trail then the Sky High Trail coming up from Mineshaft Saddle and lickety split you are on the  summit with a hundred other folks, if it's a weekend.

 

After a well deserved break it's time to head back to your packs and the trip down to Jenks Lake Rd., with at stop at South Fork Meadow to replenish your water which has probably been at empty for about a half an hour and a head dunk or two in the South Fork of the Santa Ana River.

 

Trail Notes

We would probably spend another night in the wilderness at Dry Lake if Lodgepole Springs had water but the spring hasn't recharged the last couple of years. The idea of drinking silty green water out of Dry Lake isn't all that appealing.


Angeles Crest Highway to Mt. Islip Day Hike with Full Backpack 
Distance: 7 miles Round Trip
Starting Elevation: 6,560'
High Point: 8,250' (Mt. Islip)
Maps: Crystal Lake 7.5' USGS Quads
Waypoints (UTM Zone 11S):
Islip Saddle Trailhead:...........................0421787/3801871
Alternate Trailhead:...............................0423258/3801328
Road Jct. with Alt. Trailhead:..............0422781/3801688
Little Jimmy Campground:....................0423687/3800799
Windy Gap:...................................................0423801/3800347
Islip Ridge/Little Jimmy Trail Jct.:..0423634/3800573
Islip Ridge Trail/Big Cienega Jct.:.....0422819/3800445
Mt. Islip:........................................................0422826/3800531
Directions: From I-15 Exit CA 138 and head west. At Angeles Crest Hwy. make a left (south) and continue through Wrightwood. About 20 miles from Wrightwood the Saddle parking lot is on the right (north) side of the road.


Description: Try to start this trip early in the morning because the first .5 mile is open country. The trail climbs for the first 1.1 miles to a road, it's not a hard climb believe me. The mile to Little Jimmy Campground is more or less flat gain a elevation here and there. Once you leave Little Jimmy the ascent stiffens and even more so after you turn west after achieving Windy Gap.

 

The peak offers it best views to the desert and the western San Gabriel's.

 

Trail Notes

You have a couple of options of where to start this hike, Islip Saddle, a gated road at the 66.37 mile marker or another 1.0 mile further east. The Islip Saddle is described above, a 1/2 mile east is a gated road this way cuts about .5 off the trip, the other option I've never taken is a straight shot to Windy Gap, there is a trail there and I've talked to people who have taken this route...As you descend from the peak there is a trail that is very easy to take by mistake, in fact we took the first time we did this trip and it is the way we usually come down to make this a semi-loop trip. This trail takes you into the west end of Little Jimmy Campground.

 

This trip is designed for trips originating from the Horseshoe Meadows trailheads. If you are using the Main Trail or Onion Valley you might want to repeat the Mt. Badden-Powell trip.


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Date of Last Change: 12/22/09