Jones Peak from Bailey Canyon Park trailhead
You get a lot of bang for your buck hiking to this lower peak in the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains. Although it stands only 3,375 feet in elevation, it is positioned to afford an unobstructed 360 degree panorama of points near and far in Southern California from its rounded summit. Furthermore, the two principal routes to this peak take you up two beautiful, rugged canyons typical of the San Gabriel range.
Once on the summit, look south and, on a clear day, you can see Catalina Island in the distance. In the opposite direction, north, 5,715 foot Mt. Wilson is in view.
Looking north from Jones Peak to Mt. Harvard
Looking west, you can see the southeastern end of the Verdugo Mountains, a popular hiking area in itself. To the east, a number of popular peaks can be seen. From left to right, you can make out Twin Peaks in the San Gabriel Wilderness area, Monrovia Peak, and Ontario Peak in the Cucamonga Wilderness. Looking further on the horizon to the east, Santiago Peak in the Santa Ana Mountains is very prominent to the right of the other peaks mentioned.
Santiago Peak, the highpoint in Orange County, from the summit of Jones Peak Oct. 21, 2006
The most direct route to Jones Peak is from the Bailey Canyon Park trailhead located in the City of Sierra Maddre. This trailhead is at 1,100 feet elevation and the route is 3.3 miles one way with 2,275 feet of gain. The route starts at the western end of the trailhead parking lot. You will walk through some trees, then through a turnstile, and then north onto a paved road that skirts the west end of the Bailey Canyon debris dam. The paved road then turns into the Bailey Canyon Trail as you enter the canyon. The trail ascends along the eastern slope of the canyon. It is a narrow, picturesque canyon. The trail tops out at Jones Saddle. Here, Jones Peak is directly behind you to the south. Hike the short one-tenth of a mile up the use trail and you are there.
North slope of Jones Peak looking down at Jones saddle and use trail to summit
The other main route is from the Mt. Wilson Trail trailhead located in Sierra Madre. The trailhead is at 970 feet elevation and the route is about 3.7 miles one way with about 2,600 feet of gain.
The Mt. Wilson Trail ascends the western slope of Little Santa Anita Canyon, located just to the east of Bailey Canyon.
Looking down 700 feet from near Jones Saddle into Little Santa Anita Canyon and Mt. Wilson Trail (left center)
This trail is steeper than the Bailey Canyon Trail. Like the latter, this route also begins on a paved road before reaching the dirt trail. At 1.5 miles, you will reach First Water Junction, where you go left up the trail. At 2.7 miles, you reach the turn-off for the connector trail that takes you to the ridge north of Jones Peak. The turn-off is intermittently marked by a small wooden sign. Go left off the trail right onto a streambed. After about 100 yards, an obvious dirt trail runs into the streambed on your right. This trail immediately begins switch-backing up a canyon slope devoid of sun cover. Make no mistake. This connector trail is steep, climbing 700 feet in about .7 miles. When the trail reaches the ridge, you will see a wooden sign pointing in the direction from which you came and also pointing to the northwest where the ridge continues to the Mt. Wilson Toll Road. At the sign, go left (south) about .2 miles to Jones Saddle and continue up an additional .1 miles to the summit.
If you arrange a car shuttle between the Mt. Wilson Trail and Bailey Canyon trailheads (they are only 1 mile apart), you can make this a loop hike returning down Bailey Canyon instead of retracing your steps back to the Mt. Wilson trailhead.
Bailey Canyon Route
The Bailey Canyon Park Trailhead is also known as Grove Park. It is situated within the city limits of the foothill community of Sierra Madre, California. From the 210 Freeway, exit at Santa Anita Ave. and go north. Turn left (west) on Grand View. Continue several blocks to Grove. Turn right (north) onto Grove and drive directly into the Bailey Canyon/Grove Park parking lot. There is a gate at the entrance to the park open “from dawn to dusk.” If you get there before the gate is open, there is parking along adjacent residential streets.
Jones Peak from the Bailey Canyon Park trailhead
Mt. Wilson Trail/Connector Trail Route
The Mt. Wilson Trail trailhead is also located within the city limits of Sierra Madre. From the 210 Freeway, exit Baldwin Ave. and go north. When you come to a traffic light where you have to go either right or left, go left to the next light and that is Baldwin Ave. Take a right and continue up Baldwin Ave. through the downtown area of Sierra Madre. Approximately ¾’s of a mile from the downtown plaza, take a right on Mira Monte. Go down about ½ mile and you will come to a small park on your left. Park anywhere in this area long Mira Monte. To get to the trail, walk up the paved road that goes north off of Mira Monte next to the park.
No permits are needed for the hikes to this peak. Neither is an Adventure Pass required to park at either trailhead mentioned here because neither is located within the Angeles National Forest.
There are no campsites/campgrounds within the immediate vicinity of this peak.
USGS Topo: Mt. Wilson
NOTE: as of July 2010, the two trailheads mentioned above are some of the few still accessible in the front range of the San Gabriels due to the devastating "Station" fire of 2009. As of this writing, SR 2 (Angeles Forest Highway)is still closed to traffic from La Canada.
External LinksHistory of Mt. Wilson Trail
Angeles National Forest