Pallett Mountain is one of several prominent high points along Pleasant View Ridge, which starts from Mount Williamson and runs northwest until dropping down into the Mojave Desert in the vicinity of Brainard Canyon. The flat, open summit offers dramatic views of the Mojave Desert as well as many of the larger peaks of the western San Gabriels, including Waterman Mountain, Twin Peaks, and Will Thrall Peak. Unfortuately, the view east to Mt. Williamson is obscured by an intermediate high point.
Pallett Mountain is not named on the version of Topo! that I have. The name was taken from a benchmark a mile and a half west labeled "Pallett". The peak so labeled is designated "Pleasant View Ridge" by the Sierra Club's Hundred Peaks Section. The name comes from Bob Pallett, who belonged to a pioneer ranching family residing in Valyermo. Pallett was a friend of mountain man Charles Vincent Dougherty, for whom nearby Vincent Gap and Vincent Gulch are named.
One may approach the peak from either the south (more or less) or the north. The Burkhart Trail runs 11 miles from Devil's Punchbowl on the north slope of the San Gabriels all the way to Buckhorn Camp, off the Angeles Crest Highway. Near the half way point it crosses Burkhart Saddle at around 7,000 feet. From Burkhart Saddle it is a short hike up a steep use trail to the summit. It is also possible to traverse the Pleasant View Ridge by starting at Islip Saddle and hiking over the top of Mount Williamson, and following the ridge as far as one cares to do so.
To get to Devil's Punchbowl find your way to highway 138 along the north slope of the San Gabriel Mountains (use the Pearblossom Hwy turnoff from Hwy 14 near Palmdale). From the town of Pearblossom (9 mi east from Hwy 14) turn south on Longview Road. Two miles from the turnoff take a jog left on Fort Tejon Road, then pick up Longview again in a half mile and continue south two more miles to the signed road on the left. Follow this road three miles to the end at the Devil's Punchbowl Nature Center.
From south of the San Gabriels you will need to find your way to I-210 and the City of La Canada-Flintridge. Exit Angeles Crest Highway (Route 2) and head north. Nine miles from La Canada you will reach the junction with Angeles Forest Highway. Continue straight. Some 35 miles after you left the interstate you will cross over Cloudburst Summit, and shortly thereafter the Mount Waterman Ski area. Keep an eye out for an obscure road on the left. The entrance to Buckhorn Camp used to be signed, but the sign is now gone. The narrow paved road is marked one-way. Follow the road as it winds along below the highway through camp sites. There are several branches. Follow the signs for the Burkhart Trail.
If you do the traverse (either to or from) Mount Williamson, you will want to leave a car at Burkhart, and another at Islip Saddle. Islip Saddle is two miles beyond Burkhart Camp. There is a large parking area and pit toilets. For the last two years this has been the end of the road, as storm damage from the winter of 2004-2005 damaged the road further on, and it hasn't been repaired.
| Burkhart Trail, from Buckhorn
||~11 mi R/T, 3,300' gain
||This delightful trail starts by dropping almost 1,000 feet to Rattlesnake Creek and the PCT before starting back up again towards Burkhart Saddle. From the Saddle turn east and follow a use trail to the summit.
| Burkhart Trail, from Devil's Punchbowl
||~15 mi R/T, 4,000' gain
||Follow the Burkhart Trail from Devil's Punchbowl all the way up to Burkhart Saddle. Turn east and follow the use trail to the summit.
| Loop to/from Mt. Williamson
||~10 mi one way, ~4,500' gain
||This loop may be done in either direction, though you will gain an extra hundred-fifty feet starting at Islip Saddle. If starting from Buckhorn, follow the route description above to the summit. Then continue on, following the ridge up and down for about 2.5 miles until you reach the summit of Mt. Williamson. From here descend the trail 2 miles down to Islip Saddle.
Pallett Mountain lies within the Angeles National Forest
. A National Forest Adventure Pass
or Golden Eagle pass is required to park in the ANF. Annual passes are $30, and day passes are $5. Passes can be purchased at Forest Service offices and virtually any sporting goods store in Southern California. No permits are required for hiking or camping.
Buckhorn Camp is a nice place, and you're right there at the trailhead.
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