I leave my office in Echo Park at 3:10 p.m. and take Freeway 2 north to Glendale. I exit on Mountain and navigate my way to the trailhead at the intersection of Beaudry Blvd and Beaudry Terrance. It’s a brisk 96 degrees!
I turn right on Beaudry North and follow the wide, dirt road that ascends the steep mountain slopes through rich chaparral. Shade from both the trees and the steep road cut provides sections of welcome relief from the intense sun. An occasional breeze feels good. Soon I am treated with expanding views of Crescenta Valley and the rugged San Gabriels rising steeply behind. As I climb higher I round a bend and get a good view toward Tongue Peak, my destination, high on the backbone ridge.
There is hardly anything in bloom. The weedy non-native grasses are brown, and some of the native chaparral plants, like sticky monkey flower and black sage look parched. Poison oak is beginning to turn its fall colors. A row of cypress trees along the road makes me wonder why man thinks he can improve on nature.
|View southeast toward whence I came
View south toward Tongua Peak and Mt. Thom
Now a nice dirt road the rest of the way! Soon a mountain biker passes…my first human encounter for the whole hike! I reach the saddle/junction with the abandoned Skyline Motorway and chuckle at my adventure up that steep route to Summit 2960+. Now I take the use path east to the summit I skipped earlier. Three minutes gets me to the top (2800+). I continue down the use path to the saddle.
7:29 - Junction (2500’). I briefly ponder heading down the way I came up, but I haven’t come all this way to not bag the two named peaks at the south end of this range. Just past the junction a view opens to the west to reveal a gorgeous orange sky and the San Fernando Valley beginning to twinkle with lights. The route bends left (east) and winds its way to the summit. A large group of hikers are coming down.
7:54 - Junction (2420’). To the right is Las Flores Motorway heading 2.4 miles south to Sunshine Drive. To the left is Beaudry Motorway South, my return route. Straight ahead is Mt. Thom. Several hikers are here and several more are coming down from Mt. Thom. I continue straight.
9:26 p.m. - End hike. It’s 84 degrees!
Epilog - What a fun adventure which exceeded my expectations! I hiked 8.4 miles with 2,230 in elevation gain. I conquered two of the three named peak of the Verdugos and the 2960-plus-foot summit that towers over the south end of the range. I survived the heat. I enjoyed lots of solitude, good exercise, expansive views on a relatively clear day, and the beauty of day turning to night. I look forward to my next expedition into the Verdugo Mountains.
Books: Jerry Schad presents three hikes in the Verdugos. His “South End Loop” describes hiking up Beaudry North and returning on Beaudry South, 5.5 miles with 1,500 feet in elevation gain (which is the core of the hike I describe above; I added another 2.9 miles on the top). John McKinney presents five hikes in the Verdugos; he briefly covers the same hike as Schad does as an option in his Beaudry Canyon hike.
Peaks: Both Tongua Peak and Mt. Thom are labeled on the Tom Harrison Map but with no elevations. Neither Tongua Peak nor Mt. Thom are labeled on the USGS topo map, (but Tongua is listed as 2656’), nor are they listed with the USGS Board on Geographical Names. Both peaks are listed on Peckbagger.com: Tongva Peak (2656’) (note spelling “Tongva” rather than ”Tongua”) | Mount Thom (2440+’).
See my blog for Verdugo Peak Hike – Dec. 20, 2012
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