Condor Peak stands high above Big Tujunga Canyon, across from Mount Lukens, and west of Josephine Peak. On a clear day it commands superb views of the western San Gabriel Mountains. If you come in the spring when the Ceanothus is in bloom, you will be treated to a show of beautiful lilac-colored flowers.
The peak is named after the endangered California Condor. A hundred years ago it was a nesting ground for the huge birds, and they could be seen wheeling gracefully overhead in search of something dead to eat. Sadly, the condor's numbers have declined dramatically. The last condor sighting in the area was before World War II.
|Via Trail Canyon||~16 mi R/T, 4,000' gain||This trail follows Trail Canyon to its head. It is lush with plants and trees such as Sycamore, Bay, and Oak. The first few miles are popular with day hikers.
Near mile marker 2.01 on Big Tujunga Canyon Road you will find the turn off to Upper Trail Canyon Road, a dirt road easily passable by 2WD passenger car. Follow the road a short distance to it end.
The trail starts on a gated dirt road that provides access to some private cabins. After a maybe half a mile the road makes a 180 degree turn back toward the last cabin. A trail drops steeply a short distance down from this turn into the canyon bottom. The trail can be hard to follow where it meanders across the streambed. Don't go too far if you think you're off track. Follow this for about five miles until you reach a saddle on the east-west ridge connecting Iron Mountain (the huge reddish mass to the west) and Condor Peak. There are trail signs here. Take the Condor Peak Trail east for a couple of miles until you find a use trail leading the last few hundred feet up the peak (the Condor Peak Trail contours below and to the north of the summit). If you are interested in camping in the back country, Tom Lucas trail camp is about 3.8 miles up. It's a bit overgrown and easy to miss. Look for picnic tables and a fire pit.
|From the South via the Condor Peak Trail||~17 mi R/T, 4,000' gain||My personal favorite. The Condor Peak trail winds its way up the south side of the mountain, passing through a rich chaparral landscape, crossing several canyons and presenting the hiker with a variety of views. A great hike if it isn't too warm. There are views the whole way, and the trail, except for the last mile or so, is well-graded and maintained.
The Sierra Club's HPS has driving directions on the web, and they're correct as far as they go. However, starting at mile marker 5.82 on Big Tujunga Canyon Road (as they suggest) adds at least two miles and 400 feet of gain to the round trip. A better start is at mile marker 4.50. There is parking nearby.
Follow the trail up and east about a quarter mile until you reach a trail that heads back and up to the west. That's your trail. Follow it to a ridge just below and west of Fox Peak, then head west along the ridge. Pass over a very disappointing false summit, drop down into the next saddle, then take a use trail straight up to the summit (the Condor Peak trail skirts the summit on the north).
|From the North via the Condor Peak Trail||~10 mi R/T, 2,400' gain||This route involves several miles of approach on dirt roads, followed by a few more miles walking on roads until you come to the Condor Peak Trail (itself an abandoned fire road). See the Sierra Club's HPS route description.|