Although Hoyt Mountain
lacks the altitude of its more famous neighbors, it nevertheless offers breathtaking 360 degree views of the San Gabriel front range. Most people probably take a glimpse at this peak when they drive on the Los Angeles Crest Highway, but very few take the time to actually climb it. A short and very nice, but steep ascent via the east ridge takes you to the summit in less than one hour.
The trailhead for the Hoyt Mountain east ridge is the parking lot at Georges Gap
on the Los Angeles Crest Highway (coming from La Canada Flintridge) shortly before the Clear Creek junction with the Los Angeles Forest Highway. An Adventure Pass is required here.
From the parking lot at Georges Gap
(3,650 feet) a faint use trail leads up the east ridge of Hoyt Mountain. Another better marked trail leads north, down to Clear Creek Canyon. Take the faint trail west and quickly gain altitude as you climb mostly on fine scree between yuccas. On some spots it becomes fairly steep so that you probably will need to use your hands. Along the way you are rewarded with beautiful views to Josephine Peak and Strawberry Peak to the north and northeast, and to Mount Disappointment, Mount Markham, and Mount Lowe to the east and southeast.
After about 20 to 30 minutes you will reach a little plateau
(~4,110 feet) and for the first time glimpse a view at the true summit. To the north you see Clear Creek Canyon winding down to Big Tujunga Canyon, to the south the Arroyo Seco. The second portion to Hoyt Mountain
after the plateau is less steep and leads through several larger boulders to the flat summit area at 4,408 feet. The summit plateau covered with yuccas offers unhindered views at the surrounding mountains and valleys. The ascent is about 800 feet elevation in 0.5 miles. You can descent via the west ridge to Grizzly Flat trailhead or return the way you came.
The rocks on the summit plateau and east ridge after the saddle have a marked orange, red color, which I think comes from the fire retardant which is sometimes dumped from helicopters and airplanes while fighting wildfires. In fact several charred remains along the way remind you at the wildfire that must have burnt down the larger vegetation on Hoyt Mountain.
Good hiking boots for the loose scree and long pants and sleeves for the prickly yuccas may be advisable.