Sunday, February 20, 2011

Glendora Mountain Hike - February 20, 2011

Glendora Mountain, Angeles National Forest
A big storm beginning the third and final month of winter dumped tons of snow on our mountains this weekend dropping below the 3,000-foot level. So when I arose and saw the sunshine, blue skies, fluffy white clouds, and snow on the nearby mountain slopes, I knew I had to head into the mountains. I wasn’t sure where I would hike, but I figured I’d jump on Hwy 39 and head up the canyon to see where I would end up.

Morris Dam, San Gabriel Canyon, Angeles National Forest
11:30 AM - Leave my house in Azusa and head north on Hwy 39 into San Gabriel Canyon. The beauty of the day and surrounding scenery captivates me. I open the sunroof to experience the brisk air. Lots of water in Morris Reservoir but not over the spillway. Across the canyon to the east I see snow on Glendora Mountain (3322’) View northeast toward Glendora Mountain from Hwy 39 in San Gabriel Canyon and Morris Reservoir, Angeles National Forest and consider it as a possible destination for today. I stop at turnouts several times en route and take pics. Billowing white and gray clouds loom over the high country.

11:59 - Reach East Fork Road and turn right (east), crossing the bridge. San Gabriel Canyon East Fork and San Gabriel Reservoir, Angeles National Forest Lots of water backed up behind San Gabriel Dam and under the bridge. Continue to stop and take pictures along the way. Photograph the white blossoms of hoary-leaved ceanothus; Hoary-leaved ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius) along East Fork San Gabriel River, Angeles National Forest Hoary-leaved ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius) along East Fork San Gabriel River, Angeles National Forest the blooming shrub covers the mountainsides. The river is rushing.

View north toward Heaton Flat East Fork San Gabriel River from Shoemaker Canyon Road, Angeles National Forest, February 20, 2011
12:16 - Turn left on Shoemaker Canyon Road and drive the two miles to the trailhead. I love the aromas and beauty after a storm. It’s 48 degrees but feels colder. The Heaton Flat parking lot looks full in the canyon below. I drive back to East Fork Road and turn left (east) and head to the Heaton Flat parking lot. It is completely full and cars are parked down the road. Where are all these people hiking to? The Bridge to Nowhere? I sure wouldn’t do it in this weather. Maybe they are prospecting. Clouds are threatening. Continue on my way.

View northwest toward Mount Islip from Glendora Mountain Road, Angeles National Forest, February 20, 2011
12:56 - Turn left on Glendora Mountain Road (GMR) and begin my ascent southwest into mountainsides dusted with snow. Wow, it’s beautiful here. Stop occasionally to take pictures. Make a snowball.

1:18 - Reach Glendora Ridge Road junction at the ridgeline and stop to enjoy the vistas with others. Back in the car, I head west on GMR.

Glendora Mountain topo map
1:38 - Arrive at the trailhead for Glendora Mountain (road marker 6.50), on a narrow ridge dividing Little Dalton Canyon to the south and Persinger Canyon to the north (a tributary of San Gabriel Canyon). The car thermometer reads 43 degrees, but it feels warmer than when it read 48. I haven’t hiked to this summit since 2001 so am eager to revisit it.

Glendora Mountain Hike

View northwest toward Glendora Mountain Road and San Gabriel Canyon from Glendora Mountain ridge, Angeles National Forest, February 20, 2011
1:40 PM - Begin hike. The path starts on the south side of the road and heads west up a firebreak. It’s a bit steep but not bad. A Spanish broom hosts a few yellow blossoms. An inch of melting snow crunches beneath my boots. Fresh coyote tracks mark the route. Coyote tracks en route to Glendora Mountain, Angeles National Forest, February 20, 2011 Brisk air invigorates me. In seven minutes I reach a knob (3311’), the first of about five bumps en route along this undulating ridge. There are a lot of lupine plants along the path, and one eager plant displays its purple flowers in anticipation of spring coming in one month. Lone lupine in bloom on Glendora Mountain ridge, Angeles National Forest, February 20, 2011 Motor vehicles on the road just below contribute to the soundtrack for this hike.

View south toward Glendora Mountain (3322’), Angeles National Forest
The ridge bends to the south and the summit is in view, less than a mile away. Clouds veil 10,000-foot Mt. Baldy to the east, which certainly is buried with snow. San Gabriel and Morris reservoirs soon come to view in the canyon below. I roller-coaster along the ridge now heading south, following the tracts of the coyote. Great views in all directions. The snow gives the scenery a very different feel.

View south from Glendora Mountain (3322’), Angeles National Forest
2:23 - Glendora Mountain (3322’), about 1.0 mile and a total rollercoaster gain of about 378 feet from the start. I enjoy the unobstructed 360-degree panorama. Eastern panorama view from Glendora Mountain (3322’), Angeles National Forest Lots of familiar peaks in view remind me of years of exploring these splendid mountains just above my home. A couple months from now this site will be colored purple with abundant lupine. Patchy clouds cast modeled shadows on the surrounding mountains. No cell reception. Enjoy leafing through the summit log housed in a baggy in a red tin can that is tucked in a pile of rocks. The last visitor was here two days ago and noted that it was raining. This peak doesn’t get many visitors and most of them have not been standing here in snow. Well, it’s getting cold and the clouds are threatening to dump something on me.

View north from Glendora Mountain (3322’), Angeles National Forest
3:00 - Leave Summit. I follow my footprints in the snow and enjoy the snow-covered panorama to the north. My hands are cold but I don’t bother getting out my gloves. The evidence of fire abounds. Reminder of the Sept. 2009 Morris Fire on Glendora Mountain ridge, Angeles National Forest The Morris Fire, which began on August 25, 2009 and burned more than 2,100 acres, was stopped on this ridge from burning further east. It didn’t get much media attention since the Station Fire to the west erupted the next day and went on to incinerate 250 square miles of the San Gabriel Mountains. On the final descent I stop and photograph some more plants. Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) on Glendora Mountain ridge, Angeles National Forest

3:38 - Finish hike. The car thermometer reads 51 degrees. I drive down the meandering GMR toward Glendora, stopping several times to soak in the picturesque scenery. View southwest from Glendora Mountain Road, Angeles National Forest

Epilog - Another rewarding experience in the San Gabriels! For this outing, the car trip was as much a part of the experience as the hike. I love my mountains! icon

See Hike Description at Dan’s Hiking Pages
(Detailed trail guides include driving directions recommended season, map, notes, links, and photos)
blogspot Related link on Dan's Hiking Blog:


  1. Greetings Dan!

    Yesterday my family and I did this wonderful hike! First, I wanted to inform you and all your readers that the FS recently grated this firebreak (I think about 2 months ago). There are some cut bushes on the first incline section of the trail but otherwise it's a nice, wide, and clear trail all the way to the peak! Unfortunately, the summit register is now missing (or at-least I couldn't find it... [but I did find a geocache :D ]).

    Second, I just wanted to say thanks for the work you do to your site! If it wasn't for you, I would never have known about this hike. Infact, the only other hikers we bumped into on the trail was another family who used your site to find this hike also!

    Thanks again, God Bless, and happy trails to you,

    1. Hi Joseph, thank you for the update and kind words. I’m always encouraged to know my efforts are helpful to others.

      Yes, the FS did re-doze the firebreak on Glendora Mountain ridge. They did it on January 16, 2014, the day the Colby Fire started about a mile south. The FS cut several firebreaks in the area to hedge against the fire moving north deeper into ANF. The fire spread west, however, and consumed nearly 2,000 acres above Glendora and Azusa.

  2. I think I found this trail today...we parked at mile marker 6.50 but couldn't find any trail heads? We did find 2 about a mile or so up the GMR and we did one of those, it was spectacular...and the pics look about the same, is the trail? We were just wondering. We found 2 trails across from each other on each side of the GMR road and did the one on the left side if you are going up the road. We can't wait to go back and do the other trail!

    1. Hi Jen, glad you had a nice hike. There is no formal trailhead for Glendora Mountain. It’s just a turnout on the highway and a use path the proceeds up a firebreak and along the ridge to the summit. The firebreak was re-dozed mid January 2014 in conjunction with the Colby Fire, so the route is clear and wide. The “Getting to the Trail” description on my Glendora Mountain page provides clear details for getting there: