Take me back to Smith Mountain! This is our new favorite hike in the Angeles National Forest! That foggy, cool morning was perfect for this fun challenging hike because this trail is exposed from beginning to end. Both Xena and I absolutely loved every minute of this hike.
After parking at the Smith Mountain Trailhead near Azusa, CA, we began the hike via Upper Bear Creek Trail. The trailhead is clearly marked. Upper Bear Creek Trail takes you to Smith Saddle. Stay on this trail for the next 3 miles and enjoy the gradual uphill and beautiful of the canyon.
In the first hour, we hiked in the dense fog. I loved how the fog made everything mysterious and created great photos opportunities.
Although the wildflowers were pretty much all gone in the lower elevation, at 4,000 feet, there were still plenty of vibrant flowers along Upper Bear Creek Trail. So pretty!
After an hour and gaining elevation, the fog began to dissipate, and the views started to peek through. I had the first glimpse of Smith Mountain.
At the 2.8-mile mark, we reached Smith Saddle (elev. 4,290 ft). We were out of the fog and had a blue sky with a big patch of cloud. Here, the trail splits into 3 different ways. Take Smith Mountain Trail on your left toward the south. There is no sign, but it’s the trail that goes up to the mountain on your left.
Now the fun begins. Get ready to scramble and do some rock climbing to the peak for the next 0.5 miles. It’s doable if you are in decent shape.
Check out these views! Simply stunning every step of the way! Hiking above the clouds is one of my favorite things to do!
It’s hard to take pictures when you are scrambling so I don’t have good photos of that section. Unlike the Twin Peaks hike though, it was easy to spot the trail here. Keep on climbing.
Ok, maybe we could try to take a better selfie next time…
Back to my previous point, we couldn’t have asked for a better day for this hike. How gorgeous is this trail!! This lightly trafficked trail is out and back. That means when you are ready to go back, just go back the way you came up.
I am so looking forward to hiking Smith Mountain again when it’s cooler!
Good to Know:
- Hike Date: 6.2.19
- Distance: 6.6 miles RT
- Elevation Gain: 1,854 ft
- Maximum Altitude: 5,110 ft
- Difficulty Rating: Moderate-Challenging
- Trailhead: Smith Mountain Trailhead
- Fee/Permit: Adventure Pass ($5/day; $30/annual)
- Vault toilets available
- Notable: wildflowers, views, no shade, rock climbing, scrambling, good for spring/fall/winter
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