Since I didn’t win the Mount Whitney Lottery this year, I’ve opted for a different goal. This goal is actually a series of goals, and will – in theory – help me to train better to get my fat ass into shape to conquer the formidable peak that Mount Whitney is.
There is a series of day hikes known as the SoCal Six Pack of Peaks.
The hikes are all day hikes, so – in theory – I should be able to drive out to the trailhead, throw on my Keens, grab my trekking poles, toss on my CamelBak, and go for a walk. In practice, these are all all-day hikes ranging in distance from 10.4 miles to 17.3 miles. Some have snow that sticks around ’til June, others are over exposed areas that you just don’t want to hike on during the hot summer months without bringing a water sherpa along with you.
I’ve done a bit of research, and think I can put the hikes in an order that will allow me to hike from ‘easiest’ (relatively speaking) to ‘hardest.’ None of the hikes is particularly easy (I’ve already done some of them; I’ve hiked San Jacinto several times, for example, which is supposed to be the most strenuous of the hikes – although only once up Marion Trail; I took the tram the rest of the time).
So. In order, here are the heavy-duty hikes I’m going to accomplish this year:
- Mt. Wilson via Chantry Flats – A strenuous day hike through a beautiful section of the San Gabriel mountains with a 50 ft. waterfall.
According to SoCalHiker, “Standing prominently above Pasadena, Mount Wilson is a Southern California landmark. The 5,710 foot summit is home for an observatory responsible for the most detailed photos of Mars as well a vast array of antennae for local LA radio and television stations. While the summit is steeped in astronomical wonder and tremendous views of Los Angeles, the trails are the real beauty of this hike.” Full review HERE.
- Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon – A challenging 11.6 mile out-and-back hike with 4,300 feet of elevation gain to the 8,859′ summit.
According to SoCalHiker, “Cucamonga Peak offers amazing views over Southern California’s Inland Empire, east toward Apple Valley and beyond. This hike from Icehouse Canyon is a strenuous 11.6 mile out-and-back route with 4,300 feet of vertical gain and a top elevation of 8,859′. The north-facing slope holds snow much later in the season than other peaks.” Full review HERE.
- Mount San Antonio (Baldy) Loop – A strenuous 11 mile loop hike with nearly 4,000 feet of vertical elevation gain to the 10,068′ summit of Baldy.
SoCalHiker says “Any Southern Californian can point out the white topped Mt. Baldy — actually it’s real name is Mt. San Antonio. Baldy is a SoCal icon that stands out boldly as a snow-covered backdrop for much of the year. At 10,068 feet above sea level, the snow often sticks around well into June.” Full review HERE.
- San Bernardino Peak via Angeles Oaks – A long 16.5 mile day-hike with nearly 5,000 feet of vertical gain, and one of the best-kept secrets of SoCal.
SoCalHiker (an, apparently, well deserved handle), says of this hike: “One of the best-kept secrets of Southern California is San Bernardino Mountain. Just five miles away from the highest peak in SoCal — San Gorgonio — San Bernardino tops out at a respectable 10,649 feet. Hiking from Angelus Oaks, this 16-mile out-and-back trail climbs over 4,600 vertical feet. It makes for a very long day hike or a great weekend backpacking trip.” Full review HERE.
- San Jacinto Peak via Marion Mountain – “The view from San Jacinto is the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth!” – John Muir
SoCalHiker sez: “At 10,834′ Mt. San Jacinto does indeed reward the determined hiker with wonderful views. You can see the inland empire, Palm Desert, the San Bernardino and San Gabriel mountains, Mt. Palomar in San Diego, Santiago and Modjeska peaks, and on a really clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of Catalina Island.” Full review HERE.
- San Gorgonio via Vivian Creek – At 11,503′ “Old Greyback” is the tallest mountain in Southern California.
“San Gorgonio is the tallest mountain in Southern California, and a right of passage for serious hikers in the area. At 11,503′, “Old Grayback” provides an excellent high altitude training for those preparing to summit Mt. Whitney, and only 90 minutes away from Orange County.” – Jeff Hester (SoCalHiker) Full review HERE.
SoCalHiker’s website is HERE.
SoCalHiker’s guides are HERE.
I found great information at EveryTrail HERE.
If you’d like to follow my progress, I mark all of my hikes on Peakery HERE.