TOPO map showing the ascent via Vetter's West Ridge
This route is a nice alternative to the standard route up to the summit of Vetter Mountain
(5,908’) from Charlton Flat. The alternate route ascends to the summit via its West Ridge from the Upper Big Tujunga Canyon and can be combined with various other cross-country or trail hikes in that area.
There are several ways to get to the start of the West Ridge in the Upper Big Tujunga Canyon
. A subsidiary ridge joins the Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road at coordinates 34°17.730’N; 118°03.445’W (~3,780’). You can get there by car via the Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road from either the Angeles Forest Highway the turn-off north of Hidden Springs Café or from the Angeles Crest Highway shortly east of the Barley Flat Road turn off. An Adventure Pass is required to park your car.
Rocky slabs shortly before the summit
From the Road after about 250 feet elevation gain you cross a fire road that leads southeast to connect with the Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road again. After a short but steep scramble you cross under the prominent power lines. The route is fairly straight-forward on a firebreak. The ridge steadily ascends in northeastern direction and after about 1,000 vertical feet in less than 1 mile you reach a little flat area where another ridge coming from the northwest joins the main ridgeline which turns slightly to the southeast. The main ridge ascends about 1,000 feet in a little over 1 mile to the fire lookout on the summit of Vetter Mountain. As of January 2009 the route is not overgrown and you can maintain a steady pace. Shortly before the summit you scramble up big rocky slabs which may be difficult if iced-over during the winter. In total the ridge from the Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road to the summit is a little over 2 miles and about 2,200 feet of elevation gain. From the summit of Vetter Mountain you can take the fire road or the Vetter Mountain Trail to the Charlton Flat Picnic Area if you arranged a car shuttle.
No essential gear is necessary.