Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mt. Wilson via Bastard Ridge - 4/7/12 (with cameos by Jones Peak, Hastings Peak and Mt. Yale)

We tried climbing Mt. Wilson from The Mt. Wilson Trail once a few months ago. We reached the summit and it was enjoyable.  But in the interest of avoiding insanity by climbing the same trail repeatedly, we took a very different and much more exciting route this time. (The quote doesn't really apply to hiking though; climbing the same mountain over and over again will always yield different results, e.g. Mt. Baldy Ski Hut Trail <3 <3 <3)

Bastard Ridge Trail
Start out at the Mt. Wilson Trailhead off of Mira Monte Ave. in Sierra Madre and continue on the Mt. Wilson Trail for about a mile, keeping an eye out for a very steep but obvious use trail going straight up Bastard Ridge (Yes this is the real name. No we didn't make it up.) toward Jones Peak. It's just under a mile from the start of the ridge up to Jones and the elevation gain is about 1700'. Bastard Ridge continues to be a bastard for a few more miles, but after summiting Jones Peak, you're past the toughest part.

The trail gets a bit overgrown in spots, but it's pretty hard to lose the route since you're just sticking to the ridge the whole way. After climbing down the North side of Jones, continue up the ridge straight ahead instead of turning left for the Bailey Canyon Trail. About another mile (and less than 1000' of gain) and you'll end up on Hastings Peak.

Continue on the ridge for another 3/4 of a mile or so. As you look ahead toward the Mt. Wilson Toll Road, you'll see only one option for climbing up to the road. It looks like it'd be impossible to climb without a rope, but it's not quite as steep as it looks and we discovered that it is indeed possible, albeit steep as hell.

The trail leading to the toll road

The trail to Mt. Yale
The trail gets a bit less exciting once you reach the toll road. Follow the fire road around Mt. Yale until you get to the Northwest side of the mountain where you'll see something that looks semi-climbable. It's a short ascent up to the peak and it's your last chance for solitude before you rejoin the Mt. Wilson Trail. From the bottom of Mt. Yale, you have about 2 miles and only about 1000' of gain left to go until you reach the summit of Mt. Wilson.

Once you get to the top, you not only have the opportunity to feel superior to the suckers who drove up, but you're also way cooler than all of the people who took one of the four established Mt. Wilson trails. You added three bonus peaks to your hike and cut about a mile and a half off the ascent. So give your hiking partner a well-deserved pat on the butt and feel proud of your accomplishment.

Downtown LA from Jones Peak
Mt. Yale, Mt. Harvard, Mt. Wilson from Bastard Ridge

Los Angeles from the Mt. Wilson Toll Road


  1. Hey, long time no post!

    I've hiked the firebreak from Jones Saddle to the toll road, but never quite figured out how you're supposed to get from the toll road to Mt. Yale. Didn't see anything like a trail, anyway. Oh, well.

  2. I've been out of the blogging loop. Welcome back to CA!

    It was hard to spot and it's not much of a trail. I guess you just have to keep your eyes glued to the mountain for any path that looks doable. Just make sure to avoid the unstable rocky areas.

  3. Thanks for piecing the trails together for me. When I run/hike the Mt. Wilson Trail, I usually stop by the plateau just before Bastard starts the serious climb. Now I know it makes it's way to Jones. Much appreciated!!!