Jones Peak, one of the front peaks of the San Gabriels, offers up lovely views of the San Gabriel Valley below. The last time I hiked Jones Peak, the day was shaded by the gloom of the May grey. Last Saturday yielded a gloriously mild, sunny winter day, perfect for a hike and brunch.
We began our hike later than usual. After a busy week, it was nice to just sleep in a bit. Additionally, the trail to Jones Peak from either Bailey Canyon or Mt. Wilson Trail is easily accessible from Sierra Madre, so we did not have to drive very far. We started on the trail from Bailey Canyon at around 9 am. The morning commenced with a bit of cloud cover, which kept the temperatures down, but this burned off as the morning progressed- and as we climbed the mountain.
Our climb was steady, with just one stop at the ruins of the old cabin for snacks and water. after refueling, we trekked on, eventually making it to the Jones Peak Saddle. After a 0.1 mile scramble up the trail, we reached the heart outline and the peak.
At the bench which provided a south-facing overlook of LA County, there were more people than when I hiked it back in May. The trail was not particularly crowded, but there were a number of hikers on the trail. And no wonder. The day was bright and beautiful, and the weather was perfect. We stopped at the bench for photos and views, and enjoyed another snack before heading back down. In all, it was a lovely morning. And at 6.5 mile and 2360 feet of elevation gain, I felt like I earned my breakfast burrito.
Some things to consider:
This hike is rated as challenging and for good reason. The elevation gain is over 2000 feet in less than three miles. There are points where the trail becomes narrow and rocky, especially after the ruins. While the trail is moderately difficult up until that point, the ruins is a nice stopping point for those with smaller kids or those working up to a harder hike.
For the reason above, Jones Peak is also a good training hike for more strenuous peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains and beyond.
Bailey Canyon is beautifully shaded, especially in the months that are not summer. That said, there are some exposed areas, especially heading up to the peak. Sun protection is essential, as is plenty of water. On this particular hike, I made sure to reapply my sunscreen often
I would definitely bring trekking poles on this hike. The last time I was able to manage coming off the peak without them. This time, I brought my hiking stick, and it was definitely much easier, especially for that half-mile when first descending the peak.
Jones Peak is a great hike, and enjoyed by locals in the SGV for good reason. Its ease of access, trail rating, and pretty views make for a great weekend adventure. Happy trails!