We read various blogs in preparation for our hike to make a gameplan. Most of the blogs stressed getting there as early as possible because parking is limited and they tend to be filled up by 7 am.
We got the the parking lot at the trailhead by 6:15 am and it was full by 6:45 am.
Since we’re planning to do a lot of hiking in the next months training for Whitney we we decided to purchase an annual parking pass. It was only an extra $5 to get a second pass.
- National Forest Adventure Pass Annual Pass $30
- Additional Annual Pass $5
- Day Pass $5
From the parking lot we started hiking down first. Knowing this would be our toughest hike yet there was a bit of grumbling in the group as we made our way down and followed signs to the waterfall. This part of the hike reminded me of hikes I used to do in New England with water along trail. After the waterfall you have to backtrack to where the trail split off.
There’s a couple options, they will all take you to the top. The one thing I wasn’t aware of before I started this hike was how popular it was with mountain bikers and trail runners. I thought this was a tough hike I can’t imagine running it!
Having trained for marathons I try to be cautious of keeping a steady pace. Our group split up, but we were probably always about 5-10 minutes away from each other. Towards the last 200 feet I did start to cramp a little so I stopped to stretch but in the end made it to the top without issues. I was more concerned about cramping on the way down, but luckily I didn’t have any issues.
It happened to be cloudy that day. The peak put us above the clouds. That was pretty amazing, I had never seen that before. On a clear day you can see all the way out to Catalina. The second half of our group skipped the scenic viewpoint and headed straight to the cafe to use the restroom. The trail has a portable toilets at the start of the trail and then there’s pretty much nothing until you get to the top.
At the top there are flushing toilets then again nothing on the way down so ladies plan ahead.
After a 30-45 min break we started our hike down a different trail. From the trail we had come up you have to walk a good 15 minutes to get to the cafe. There’s another trail down from the parking lot. We ran into mountain bikers both going up as we were headed down.
We started the hike around 6:45 am, the first group finished around 1:15 pm and the second group finished around 1:45 pm.
When we got back to the parking lot there were cars parked all over the road going up as well as people waiting to park in the lot.
SoCal Hiker: Hiking Mt. Wilson via Chantry Flats
EveryTrail: Mt Wilson via Chantry Flats