Last Sunday, Cal Lu Hikes took on Mt. Wilson, the first hike in the Six-Pack of Peaks! This was a big deal for me since I wanted to do this hike months ago. This hike was also a big deal for our club, prior to this hike not many members (including myself) had ever done a hike this long. Our day began dark and early, we met on campus at 6:00 am, then drove an hour to the trail-head. There are many different trails that lead up to the top of Wilson, but we chose to do the one that begins on Eaton Canyon, just because this is the trail Daniella and her dad have done the most. I really liked this trail-head because there were a lot of parking spaces and porta potties, which is useful considering there are some trails where you gotta go straight to the bushes.
Parking lot at Eaton Canyon trail-head
Around 7:40am, we began our 14.5 miles journey! We took the Eaton Canyon trail for about .75 miles (this was nice and flat) until we reached the Walnut Canyon trail, there is a huge sign so its hard to miss! The trail then got pretty steep and narrow so this would not be the ideal time to stand next to someone and start a conversation… but dont worry, its not steep for too long! Once you are finished with the steep narrow path, you’ll reach a path that is significantly wider with a moderate incline throughout. This trail will lead you to the Henninger Flats trail, and again you’ll see huge signs just like in the picture.
Walnut Canyon Trail
Immediately after you see the Henninger Flats trial sign, you will see different picnic tables and camping areas. This is where we stopped for a snack, around this area you’ll also see restrooms, along with a few other cabins. After a short break, we continued our hike…now this is where it gets a bit tricky. There are a lot of different ways you can go, try to stick to the path, you’ll know you’re going the right way if you see a sign that says “WATER FOR HORSES HITCH RAIL” and “MT. WILSON TOLL ROAD” make sure to follow the Mt. Wilson Toll Road Sign! The moderate incline maintains throughout, on this trail you will continue to see signs for campgrounds, STAY ON THE MT. WILSON TOLL ROAD!
After passing the rest of the campgrounds, you will see more signs one of which will direct you to Mt. Wilson trail, make sure you continue following that one. On your way up you will get really nice views of the mountains and a few miles in, you’ll be able to spot the satellites up in Wilson. They may seem really far away but you’re closer than you think! After a few more miles we took a break on a giant rock and enjoyed the views as we waited for everyone to catch up! It was really hot that day so I made sure to apply a lot of sunscreen!
At the rock is when we noticed that it had already been 7 miles and the top still seemed really far away. This was supposed to be a 14.5 miles hike, round-trip… so why weren’t we there yet? This is when we realized this might end up being an 18 mile trip and not 14.5 like we originally thought. We were tired… it was hot… we just wanted to get to the top! We continued on the trail until we reached another sign that stated Mt. Wilson was still another 1.75 miles away! It was still over a mile away… but I knew we’d be there in less than an hour which made me happy.
After hiking for about 20min, we reached two trails, a narrow one and a wide one. We chose to take the narrow one, they both lead to the top but the narrow one was shorter and steeper. At that point we all just wanted to get to the top as soon as possible so we didn’t care how steep it was! After a few more minutes we finally reached the top! We reached a parking lot then spotted the cafe! We went up to the cafe and took a well deserved break! We had some snacks, took some pictures, filled up with water, and refueled for the way back down!
The way down was definitely a bit easier for me but it did feel like I was never going to finish! I tried finishing fast, so I pushed myself to the end. Its really important you remember the exact way you came up and look around you because it can be really easy to get lost! After miles and miles of hiking, finally finishing the hike was one of the greatest feeling ever. I didn’t feel as defeated as I thought I was which was great, but at the end we saw that what went from a 14.5 mile hike… to an 18 mile hike… turned out to be a 19.75 mile hike. Mt. Wilson is by far the longest hike I’ve ever done and I am happy to say I’ve almost hiked 20 miles.
Overall, this hike was definitely a challenge, there were points where I felt out of shape, where the hike seemed never ending, there was even a point where I wasn’t sure I could continue. Mt. Wilson made me realize how much speed I’d lost during my recovery time and how important it is to keep a positive attitude during a long hike. I had to take a breather during the hike to remind myself why I like hiking, this is when I realized that I was trying too hard to keep up with some of our members that I pushed myself a bit more than I should’ve. One thing about being a hiker is knowing how to push yourself but not to the point where its no longer enjoyable. This hike was definitely a great one, yeah it was difficult but I think it’s a great hike to do to train for the other peaks! I definitely want to go back to this trail and see how fast I can get to the top! I am so glad to have the opportunity to do what I love and build strong friendships along the way.
-Written by: @ssixtos