Mount Wilson

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This is the 5,715' peak in the San Gabriel Mountains above Caltech, easily identified by a plethora of antennae and known for hosting the famous Mt Wilson observatory. It is also used in Paige House's initiation antics.


There are quite a few ways to access Mt Wilson. For now, we just discuss three popular trailheads from the South; it is also possible to access Mt Wilson from Highway 2 to the North, but this is a longer drive from Pasadena.

Eaton Canyon trailhead

There are several routes from this trailhead, including the Mt Wilson Toll road.

From the ECNA website: "The observatory and other buildings are open only on the weekends, so if you're hiking there during the week be certain you take plenty of food and water with you. Henninger Flats is the only place on the trail with drinking water on those days. Be aware that there is little or no shade along the way until you reach Henninger Flats.

"Here are the three major routes to Mount Wilson.

  • Toll road. From Eaton Canyon parking lot, walk north across the wash and turn left (north), then walk approximately one-half mile to Walnut Canyon and climb the steep, windy horse trail, which meets with the Toll Road. Take the Toll Road uphill.
(total distance: 9 miles each way - the most strenuous).
  • Same as #1, but continue past Walnut Canyon all the way to the bridge and take the Toll Road uphill
(total distance: 9.5 miles each way - very strenuous)
  • Take the Toll Road all the way from the Pinecrest gate. To get to the Pinecrest gate, go north on Altadena Drive one mile past the entrance to Eaton Canyon. Turn right on Crescent, then right again on Pinecrest. Observe parking signs carefully.
(total distance: 8.7 miles each way - very strenuous)

More info: Mt Wilson toll road on summitpost.

Sierra Madre trailheads

These are in the North of the town of Sierra Madre, located a few miles East of Eaton Canyon

More info: Mt Wilson trail on summitpost.

Chantry Flats trailhead

This trailhead starts much farther North (and East) than the other trailheads.

More info: Chantry Flat trail on summitpost.


Topo map showing the trails

<googlemap version="0.9" lat="34.197747" lon="-118.062687" type="terrain" zoom="13"> 34.170482, -118.094616, Eaton Canyon trailhead 34.195819, -118.022229, Chantry Flats trailhead 34.170121, -118.049239, Mt Wilson trail trailhead 34.17424, -118.061942, vicinity of another Sierra Madre trailhead </googlemap>

See Also