I parked in the parking lot across Ortega Oaks Candy Store. The candy store sells the Adventure Pass if you forget yours. The Bear Canyon trailhead is on the south side of the store. There is a big sign for it. You can’t miss it.
Soon we came to the San Mateo Wilderness information board and the visitor log. I signed for both of us and continued on. It rained the day before so the trail was still wet and soft. The sky was moody so it was possible that we might get rained on. Hiking in the not so perfect weather condition means dirty, muddy and messy. But it has its upside too. It also means fewer people are on the trail. We were alone most of the time and I loved it.
And most of all, it makes wonderful lighting for picture taking. Without the harsh light of the sun, you can really see Xena’s healthy shiny black fur in the photos. My little black beauty.
Bear Canyon Loop Trail was well-maintained and there were trail signs at almost every corner. With the recent rain, the trail was green and inviting. The vibrant green made me happy to be out and about.
After 1.9 miles, the trail intersected Verdugo Truck Trail and we turned right. The next 1.15 miles on Verdugo Truck Trail was my least favorite portion of the hike. It was uninteresting, flat, and had graffiti. Then, it started to rain. I think this picture sums up our mood on this section.
After 3.1 miles, we reached 4 Corners and found 4 stakes that were placed to mark the boundary.
This is the junction where Verdugo Truck Trail joins Sitton Peak Truck Trail. Follow the Sitton Peak sign on your right and make a sharp right. The peak is 1.7 miles from here. With the word “Truck” in the name, I expected this trail to be a boring fire road but on the contrary, the trail was not always wide. I found it pretty even in the foggy condition so I can only imagine how pretty it could be on a clear day.
By then, the rain was coming down pretty good. I needed a defrost function on my eyeglasses. The struggle was real.
At the 4.3-mile marker, there was the final sign for the peak on the right. The last 0.3 miles or so to the peak made the hike I just did felt like nothing. It was steep and the mud was deep. According to my GPS tracking app (which is pretty close but not always accurate), we gained 374 feet in the last 0.3 miles to the peak.
My feet kept sliding on the slope. The mud made the uphill so much harder. My poles weren’t helping much at this point so I used the branches to pull myself up instead. On the other hand, Xena had no problem with the trail condition. More importantly, the mud didn’t stick to her paws. My hiking shoes were heavy with the mud. Keeping them on was another challenge yet.
When you worked hard to climb a mountain and couldn’t see a thing at the top due to dense fog.
It happens. Oh well. Haha. You gotta have a sense of humor when you are exploring. We still had fun though! When you are ready, go back down the way you came up. It’s an out and back trail. I hope you have better luck with the view though. We will have to go back next winter!
Good to Know:
- Hike Date: 3.11.18
- Distance: 9.5 miles RT
- Elevation Gain: 2,142 feet (peak elev. 3,273 ft)
- Difficulty Level: Difficult
- Trailhead: Sitton Peak Trailhead (33.612300, -117.426532)
- Adventure Pass required for parking
- Vault toilet available in the parking lot
- No shade
Get Our Latest Comprehensive Dog-friendly Trail List Here. Enjoy!
18 comments on “Sitton Peak via Bear Canyon Loop”
Love the grassy trail. And the starfish rock is really neat. Gotta do this one.
Do you think that starfish shape was made naturally or by humans? I wondered about that… Either way, I thought it was cool. Thank you for the comment!
I can tell you’re Xena’s favorite! Nice photos!
Yea.. that was a big wet kiss! LOL, I think she was trying to cheer me up. Human problems, right?
HAHA – her face in the first pic! Like she is bummed the fog is blocking her view!! 🙂
She’s got a pup attitude. You should see her when she gives me “the look”. Haha!
Love the pics!!
Thank you! I am glad the weather cooperated with me most of the day!
Beautiful area and love the “kiss” picture!
Thank you! It was a beautiful hike. I will have to go back on a clear day. 😀 Hope you are feeling better.
Ah yes, this has happened to me too. Twice, actually. Got all the way to the summit only to find ourselves fully encased in the clouds. Very frustrating.
Looks like a pretty hike, though!
I hoped you didn’t have to travel far to hike it. That would be more frustrating for sure! Luckily, it’s only 1.5 hours from my place so I plan to go back next winter. We still had fun though!
Well, one of them is close to home but the other was a few hours away from where we live now, and we’re moving across the country in a month… so our foggy ascent of that one will just have to be enough 😏
Glad you’ll get another attempt of yours!
I moved across the country before. A lot of work and coordination. Good luck!
Do you ever get the feeling that Xena shows off her four-leg drive sometimes? I know mine do when I’m struggling up a steep trail and they’re running up and down past me. Or they wait at the bottom and motor up past and stand at the top.