From Foothill Blvd. in Sunland, take Mt. Gleason Road north as it winds around through a residential area until it ends at Big Tujunga Canyon Road. Turn right and go about 4.5 miles to Doske Road. Turn right on Doske and go down into the canyon bottom to Wildwood picnic area. Park at the east end of the picnic area. The trail starts here.
Wildwood is closed nominally from November 15 through April 1. If the road is gated, no problem. It only adds about a quarter mile of walking each way, and there is plenty of roadside parking. In any event, you'll need an Adventure Pass.
The trail is indistinct at first. You're aiming for a spot about 200 yards east on the south side of the stream where the trail makes a sharp right turn up the alluvium and into the canyon. If the stream is high your best bet is to head immediately south from the end of the parking lot, cross the stream on large rocks, the follow the streambed until picking up the trail. It will be hard to miss. Alternatively, you can follow the remains of an old road until just opposite the point where the trail turns south, or anywhere in between. You'll know you're in the right place when you see a short steel pipe by the trail with a beaten-up hunk of wood bolted to the top. Presumably, at one point this was some sort of sign, but it's just kindling today.
John Robinson's fifth edition (a newer edition is available, but I do not have it) of Trails of the Angeles
says that this trail is unmaintained, but this is clearly not the case. Robinson also mentions the devastating effects of the 1975 Big Tujunga fire, but in the 22 years since the 5th edition was printed, the chaparral has come back nicely.
The trail is easy to follow the entire way. At the ridgetop about 3/4 mile from the summit, the Sister Elsie trail merges from the west. This trail is truly unmaintained; you won't be tempted to take it on the way down.
After about a mile the trail leaves the larger Big Tujunga canyon for the confines of Stone Canyon. Here the hiker enjoys a relatively remote feeling, despite being less than ten minutes from civilization. Big Cone Douglas Fir and California Live Oak are the big trees back here, but the vegetation is mostly chaparral, with several species of Ceanothus, Mountain Mahogany, Scrub Oak, Chamise, Toyon, Manzanita, Prunus Illicifolia, and Thick-Leaved Yerba Santa all vying for dominance based on altitude, slope and aspect.
For the most part, it is a tall chaparral offering decent shade. But be prepared for plenty of sunshine, especailly if attmpting this trail during the warm season. The trail has a lot of eastern and northern exposure. The slope is gentle enough that even in the winter months the north sides will see sun.
The route gains about 3,300 feet, and invloves an eight mile round trip. Add another half mile if starting from the main road.
Sneakers will do fine for footwear. Bring whatever water you plan to drink, as there is no reliable water en route. A camera or binoculars might come in handy if you're into spotting city landmarks, or would simply like to capture the view. Some extra clothing might be in order. The summit can be quite a bit cooler than the canyon where you start out.
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