Condor Peak via West Ridge - Angeles National Forest | TRVRS Outdoors
There are a handful of cross country hikes here in California's vast wilderness that push the limits of the word "adventure" for several reasons. They are extremely remote locations that most people will never have the pleasure of seeing. A consequence of their isolated location is that rescue is highly unlikely in the case of an emergency.
That being said, it is the responsibility of the few that are capable of reaching these locations to practice safety when traveling to these places.
- Double and triple check your supplies (especially water).
- Check weather conditions the morning of your hike before you lose cell service.
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Understand the importance of creating an outdoor itinerary.
- Create a plan in the event of your disappearance.
- Use the Leave No Trace principles.
TRVRS Outdoors is all for encouraging new and exciting adventures, but part of the adventure is doing adequate research ahead of time to assure a safe and fun trip which is why we've decided to document these back country hikes. Stay safe!
Google Earth overview of selected (west ridge) route to Condor Peak.
Big Tujunga Canyon Road
Trail Canyon Falls Trail
Sunlight beginning to reach Trail Canyon as we move toward Trail Canyon Falls.
A quarter mile marked our first junction where Forest Service Road 3N29 (Gold Canyon rd) meets Trail Canyon. We stayed on the main path and followed the winding road toward the actual trail head to continue north. Ben set the pace which meant we had a huge spread within the first half mile. Several creek crossings over two miles and 1,000 ft. of vertical gain brought us to the top of Trail Canyon Falls where we took a short break to regroup and delayer. Most hikers would have visited this canyon purely for the falls and as I recall, not one person in our group mentioned dropping down toward its foot.
Less than a quarter mile further was another crossing that brought us on the eastern side of the creek. The importance of this crossing is that gaining the ridge is easiest at this location and in the true TRVRS group hike fashion, we completely missed it.
Gaining the West Ridge
Hikers ascend the bottom of the ridge. Condor peak is the small peak just left of the tallest (pseudo peak).
Ben and I discussed the missed use trail at our next opportunity to gain the ridge just a quarter mile further, and ultimately decided not to turn back. If there was ever a way to convince someone that joining your group was a bad decision, its yelling "Pick your poison!" as you stare at a 35 degree slope made of loose dirt and large rocks. After climbing 1300 ft in 2.75 miles we had at least gained...A ridge.
The toughtest part of the ridge. A massive 2,400 foot climb in under two miles.
A Ridge Scramble
Descending Peak 5,047 and moving north toward the pseudo peak.
Class 2-3 rock scramble along the ridge.
10:30 AM -- We finally reached Peak 5,047 (4.2 miles, 3,655 feet climbed) where we were rewarded with clear 360 degree views of the Angeles National Forest. The only evidence of Mount Baldy's prominence from this far away was its snowy cap as it peaked over the San Gabriel Wilderness. We took a twenty minute break to make sure everyone had recovered after completing the hardest part of our trek. The scramble ahead would prove difficult for our less experienced climbers as it teetered into the realm of Class 3 with exposure. With a little bit of friction and a guidance, everyone made it across without issue.
Reaching Condor Peak
Enjoying lunch and libations at the true summit of Condor Peak.
We continued along the ridge and with the exception of a few short sections, everything past the scramble was pretty tame. Most of the thick brush could be bypassed by the observant hiker and the South slope seemed to be the popular nomination. One after another, our party of fourteen thirsty hikers made it to the summit to claim their part of the pot. A space in the circle sitting on uncomfortable rocks to spend an hour sharing libations over lunch, good conversation and impeccably clear skies.
Pictured is the Gully just after Trail Canyon Falls. The easiest way to gain the West Ridge, which we missed in the morning.
The day was hot and reaching the creek was a huge relief. We spent five minute bathing our feet when to my surprise Ben and Rohan regrouped with us from the top of Trail Canyon. Ben had shown me the same route three years prior and I promised I'd never go back after experiencing an overwhelming amount of stinging nettle and poison oak. He seemed convinced that someone had cleared some of the trail.
Our entire group holding the TRVRS Apparel flag on Condor Peak.
MORE INFO (for out-and-back route)
Total Distance: 11 miles
Total Elevation/Loss (feet): +4,800 ft / -4,800 ft
- Steady class 1 trail until you reach the use trail that gains the west ridge.
- Negotiate steep crumbly (dirt) terrain to gain the ridge up to peak 5,047.
- Class 2-3 scrambling with minor exposure up to the pseudo peak.
- Moderate bushwhacking along the entirety of the ridge.
Six of us decided to do this hike last minute Jan 22, 2022. Turned out to be a super fun hike. The only mistake I made is choosing to take the Condor trail down because it was boring and long. Next time I’ll opt for an out and back.
The register at Condor Point only had one sign-in that dates back to March, 2013. A couple of water stash was also found nearby.
Thank you for posting this event. Really enjoyed it.
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