This hike begins from the Mt Waterman trailhead across Buckhorn Day Use Area in the Angeles National Forest. After crossing the HWY 2, start the hike via the fire road behind the gate and keep your eyes open for a weathered sign for Mt Waterman Loop to your left in the first 0.1 miles. When you come to the sign, get off the fire road and take the Mt. Waterman Trail.
Stay on this single track for 2 miles until you come to this trail sign.
This photo was taken from one of our previous hikes to Mt Waterman. She carried the same backpack then too, I guess. Anyhow, this is an excellent place to take a break, especially after climbing for 2 miles. Usually, there is plenty of shade under the tall pine trees.
Take the Twin Peaks Trail from this junction. On that day, several sections of the Twin Peak Trail were blocked by fallen trees, but still, it was easy to follow, and the views from the trail were amazing!
This is a lightly trafficked out-and-back trail. We only saw one solo hiker that day.
When I see a beautiful tree, I can’t help myself. But, of course, I check for sap and ants first. Speaking of sap, I found sap and small debris stuck on the bottom of Xena’s paws after the hike. Ugh. But then again, it could’ve been worse if she had furry paws.
There is only one sign on the Twin Peaks Trail. When you see this sign, you’ve arrived at the saddle. Start climbing behind the sign.
Up to this point, the trail is up and down, but overall, it feels pretty easy. The toughest part of the hike is in the last mile to the peak, and that is about to begin. Embrace yourself. You are about to scramble on loose gravel and sometimes sandy trail in the next mile.
The trail was a little bit more noticeable on the way down but when going up, you can’t make out the trail most of the time. You just have to scramble and keep on moving up. Look how steep the last part of the trail is! For almost a mile, no less.
There are cairns left by previous hikers to guide you. Use them to find your way up.
That sure was a challenge physically and mentally. During one of our short breaks, Xena made a nest to take a nap. In the middle of climbing! Her face though when I asked, “Ready?”. Ha!
Snow is the quickest way to cool down when there is no stream. Xena absolutely loves finding snow patches to lie on while hiking.
Needless to say, we were all pleased when we made it to the top. After lunch, my human and K9 pack took a nap keeping each other warm while I walked around and took photos. These two can fall asleep anywhere anytime.
10 miles isn’t easy, but that’s not why this hike is rated very difficult. The rating is due to the number of climbing and descending require to complete this hike. Three. The last up and down is what makes it hard. On the way back to Mt Waterman, somehow I got us lost, and we had to find our way back. Adding another steep hill to the hike. 😆
When we were back at the Mt. Waterman junction and taking a short break, I was laughing and pointing out that Xena’s been hiking last two miles with a broken branch stuck in the pack. Ha! Then, I swallowed a bug that flew into my mouth while I was talking! That seems fair. 😂
This is a challenging hike but very doable by seasoned hikers. It’s worth it! Not to mention the stunning views of the Angeles National Forest.
Good to Know:
- Hike date: 5.4.19
- Distance: 10 miles RT
- Elevation Gain: 3,520 ft
- Maximum Altitude: 7,705 ft
- Difficulty Rating: Very Difficult
- Trailhead: 34.345466, -117.920929 (copy/paste to your GPS app)
- Aventure Pass ($5/day or $30/annual) is required for parking
- Vault toilets available at Buckhorn Day Use Area
- Not recommended for casual hikers