Josephine Peak via Colby Canyon


Josephine Peak is one of our favorite hikes in the Angeles National Forest. Back in January, we hiked here with a few friends to celebrate Xena’s 6th birthday. There are a couple ways to hike to Josephine Peak. This hiking guide is for the Colby Canyon route.

We parked in the small dirt lot at the trailhead and hung my Adventure Pass over the rear-view mirror then began the hike. The sun was just rising over the mountains. We love the morning hikes.


Before we reached the 0.2-mile marker, we came to a waterfall. Water was trickling down when we were there. I am sure it’s dry now. It’s faint but can you see a skinny water line behind Xena in the picture below? After a good rainy season, Colby Canyon would be pretty with a waterfall and the creek along the trail in the first mile.


The single track Colby (Canyon) Trail is well-maintained and easy to follow. In the lower elevation, there were some shades and water


but it’s all incline. As we climbed, it was exposed and the terrain became rocky.

The view of Strawberry Peak ahead

Stay on this trail for a little over 2 miles until you reach Strawberry Saddle. The trail finally levels out then. From here, you want to go straight on to Strawberry Saddle Trail towards the west. Unfortunately, there are no signs to guide you here. Colby Canyon Trail continues towards the north on your right so you can compare.

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Enjoy the little break from the sun and the climbing here. Strawberry Saddle Trail is flat and shaded. We hiked for about 0.6 miles from Strawberry Saddle to Josephine Saddle until we came to Josephine Peak fire road (another way to hike to the peak).

When you come to Josephine Peak fire road, turn right and start climbing towards the peak. Again, there is no sign at this junction but Strawberry Saddle Trail leads you to it and there are no other trails before then. Fire roads are wide enough for the forest service trucks to drive on so you will notice the big dirt road.

As we gained the elevation and got closer to the peak, we started noticing icicles on the shrubs. They were sparkling! Beautiful!


Xena and Joy received lots of love from other hikers at the peak and Xena even got some salami for the first time. I don’t buy processed meat for home so she never had it. I am surprised she didn’t leave me right then.

Perfect Sit and Wait. Such a good girl.

Take your time and enjoy the 360-degree views of the Big Tujunga Canyon and San Gabriel Mountains at the peak. The view is especially spectacular from the top on a cloudy day. You can find the photos from our other write-up here. Whenever you are ready, go back down the way you came up. This is an out and back trail.

Good to Know:

  • Hike Date:  3.4.18
  • Distance:  8.3 miles RT
  • Elevation Gain:  2,245 feet (starting elev. 3,508 ft)
  • Difficulty Level:  Difficult
  • Fee/Permit:  Adventure Pass ($5/daily or $30/annual)
  • Trailhead/Parking:  Colby Canyon Trailhead
  • No toilet
The view is always better with sweet puppy kisses at the summit

Get Our Latest Comprehensive Dog-friendly Trail List Here. Enjoy!

Happy Hiking!

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12 comments on “Josephine Peak via Colby Canyon”

  1. I can see the headline… ” While hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains, my dog left me for a salami.” So sad!

  2. LOVELY!! This reminds me of a hike I did with JoJo and my dad – and there was snow and ice at the top – but only on one side of the trees because the sun had melted everything on the other side – it was so lovely!!

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