OverviewHawkins Ridge descends from the summit of Mount Hawkins (8850') to South Mount Hawkins (7783') with two major bumps along the way, unofficially named Middle Hawkins (8505') and Sadie Hawkins (8047'). Mount Hawkins was named after Nellie Hawkins. She was a waitress who worked at the long-gone Squirrel Inn located in the North Fork of San Gabriel Canyon, once a booming goldmining area.
The 2002 Curve Fire devasted much of the surrounding forest, including the Fire Lookout on South Hawkins, though Middle Hawkins was spared.
Getting ThereExit the 210 freeway in La Canada, and go north on Angeles Crest Highway 39.5 miles to Islip Saddle and park in the lot. Cross the road and take the Pacific Crest Trail southbound. After 2.1 miles you'll pass Little Jimmy hike-in campground. After another 0.3 miles you get to Windy Gap, where a sign says, "Hawkins Ridge Trail 1.4 miles." Continue forward on the PCT. At Hawkins Ridge Trail, turn right and go about 1/4 mile until you get to the saddle on the north slope of Middle Hawkins. From the saddle follow the use trail on the right up to the summit.
~About 9 miles roundtrip hiking.
~2000 feet total elevation gain.
A variation to the above route follows Angeles Crest Highway another 2 miles past Islip Saddle to a turn-out at milepost marker "66.37" where a steep but short use trail connects to the Pacific Crest Trail at Windy Gap. Note: The Angeles Crest Highway has been closed at Islip Saddle since 2004 due to storm damage. So obviously when the road is open this is a nice short-cut, but even if you have to walk the 2 miles it's still slightly shorter than taking the PCT from Islip Saddle though.
Red TapeNo permits are needed for hiking or camping. A National Forest Adventure pass or America the Beautiful pass is required for parking at the trailhead.
For information check the Adventure Pass website.
CampingYou can backpack in and camp at Little Jimmy Campground or find your own spot. Wilderness permits are not required.
The closest developed car camping is at Buckhorn Campground, about 14 miles back the way you came on Angeles Crest Highway (26 miles from the 210 Fwy). An excellent campground in the summer, with tall trees, ferns and a stream. This is also the closest spot to the trailhead where you can get potable water.
External LinksWikipedia-South Mount Hawkins
Angeles National Forest- Fire Lookout Association
Wikipedia-San Gabriel Mountains
Field Guide to the San Gabriel Mountains