Views of San Gabriel Valley, Giant Oaks, Streams
Date: Saturday, October 28, 2017
Time: 9:00 AM
Near: Sierra Madre, CA 91024
Length: 7 miles roundtrip – 4 1/2 hours
Elevation Gain: 1990 feet
Configuration: Out and back
Summary: The Mount Wilson trail is a throwback to a bygone era. The trail’s history begins with The Gabrielino Indians, who were believed to have trekked through the area in search of acorns and wild game. The trail was officially constructed under the direction of Benjamin Wilson in 1864. The purpose at that time was to transport lumber from what was later named “Mt. Wilson”. The trail was later (1889) used to transport the first of many telescopes to the mountaintop. The second telescope was carried up the trail and assembled atop Mount Wilson.
Orchard Camp was constructed in 1864 as a construction camp for laborers. Around 1890 the camp was converted to a trail resort. It was immensely popular throughout most of its 50 years of operation. 1911 was a peak year with 40,000 persons signing the register.
Those days are gone now but you can still see the remains of Orchard camp. The site was abandoned in 1940. Orchard Camp at one time was both an orchard and a camp. Today, there is little more than the ruins of concrete footings to remind us that this is the site of Wilson's Halfway House and the hotel that succeeded it. The biggest attraction is the 1,500-year-old Canyon Oak, looming above the site.
The trail begins with a steady climb up the western slope of Santa Anita Canyon. We will be treated to extraordinary views of the San Gabriel Valley and beyond. The hills are a lush green evident from the recent rainfalls with many wildflowers ranging from purple to yellow. Along the way, we will hear the nearby stream and see a large waterfall. We will pause for a break, relaxing along the heavily wooded stream. We will resume our hike, climbing gently toward Orchard Camp. We will walk amid a forest of live oak and California laurel.
Orchard Camp is a pleasantly wooded location in a setting of live oak, canyon oak and spruce. This will be a great place to stop for lunch while admiring the majestic canyon oak that is found here. This tree is among the largest and oldest in all the San Gabriels, having first set down roots around 500 A.D.
Trailhead: From the 210 Freeway, exit Baldwin Ave. and go north. When you come to a traffic light where you have to go either right or left, go left to the next light and that is Baldwin Ave. Take a right and continue up Baldwin Ave. through the downtown area of Sierra Madre. Approximately ¾ of a mile from the downtown plaza, take a right on Mira Monte. Go down about ½ mile and you will come to a small park on your left. Park anywhere in this area along Mira Monte. We will meet at the Mt. Wilson Trail Park near the sign.
What to Bring: Good hiking boots/shoes, snacks, lunch, plenty of water, hat/cap and sunscreen.
Hike Leaders: Menard Jaramillo and Paul Ripley
For more information, contact Menard at 323-804-4700, firstname.lastname@example.org