Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mount Luken via Stone Canyon Trail

October 24,2011

Nearby City:
Sunland, CA

Driving Directions:
Take the 210 freeway and exit Sunland Blvd. toward Sunland Tujunga. Make a left at the light onto Sunland Blvd; signs for Sunland Tujumga. In 0.6 miles Sunland Blvd. turns into Foothill Blvd and then a left onto Oro Vista Ave.Continue onto Big Tujunga Canyon Rd. for 3.4 miles and turn right onto Doske Rd.
 Park at the end of the parking lot near the trailhead for Stone Canyon Trail.

Sunrise to sunset

Moderate- Difficult/ Strenuous

Once you cross the creek finding where the trail continues up to the summit is very hard to find. The trail is well marked all the way into the canyon till the trail zig-zags up the mountain side. The trail is all up hill with little areas to rest and practically no shade.

Elevation Gain/Loss:
3,200 foot gain

Entrance/ Parking Fee:
An Adventure pass is needed to park. You can buy one online or find a place that sells them near you.

Cell Service:
T-Mobile - I got a few bars at the parking lot but once in the canyon I lost service the rest of the trail.

Mount Luken via Stone Canyon- 8 miles round trip

Trail Condition:
Despite being burned by the Station Fire in 2009 the trail is in excelent condition. There are a few parts that are a little hairy but doable and the trail is hard to find after you cross the creek.

Trail Directions:
Starting at the parking lot; walk to the end of it to signs marking the beginning of the Stone Canyon Trail. Follow this trail and cross the creek where you can, the creek can get very difficult to cross after a rain storm or after winter. After you cross the creek the trail is hard to find; we walked up towards the canyon to get a higher up view and then walked towards to wooden telephone poles where you will find a well marked trail lined with rocks.

Once at the trail follow it up into the canyon; orange ribbons line the trail. Soon the trail will zig-zag up a small mountain and then up the next mountain and so on. After a few hours we first heard then saw a beautiful waterfall down in the canyon below us. We are excited to go back and find a rout to this waterfall. Continue to follow the trail till you reach an open area with the trail junction take the trail leading down, Haines Canyon. The trail leads east on the ridge and meets the Mount Luken fire road. Follow the fire road to the summit that's covered with radio antennas.

There are other alternatives from the summit if you like walking fire roads. To the east after about 8 miles the fire road leads you to the Los Angeles Crest Highway or you can take a junction down to Grizzly Flat and reach the Grizzly Flat Trail to Stonyvale. The fire road to the west takes you down towards Haines Canyon and to Big Tujunga Canyon Road.

Other Activities:
Dogs Allowed

Adventure Pass
Angeles National Forest

Jessie's Thoughts:
This is a great training hike. I enjoyed the steep incline all the way to the summit and the few difficult spots with the skinny trail and erosion kept you on your toes the whole time. The views all along the trail are stunning; I got some cool looking pictures with the haze. There is a huge waterfall that is still flowing this late in the year. I recommend this trail for anyone wanting a great workout or for training; not a good trail for families or in my opinion dogs even though they are allowed on the trail.


View Jessie's Trails in a larger map


I found a dead hiker in Vasquez Creek on June 30, 2012. This is still one of my favorite places but when it gets cooler I strongly encourage people to bring clippers and a good gps on this hike. If everyone does a little trail maintenance it will soon be safe again.

After reviewing much information including Ertug Ergun's intended route from his work computer, it is clear to me that extremely poor trail conditions, hot weather, and inadequate water were the major factors in his death. His mapped route is exactly correct, but there are NO signs and NO websites giving current trail conditions. The trail has not been maintained since the Station Fire, and there are more trees falling down all the time. It's really hard to find the trail, even when you know where it is. The poor man ended up in Vasquez creek, missing one shoe and his glasses, and descended unsafely down eight waterfalls before he died. You can get water here but you can't get out. Sadly, had he found the right trail, there was also water available there on the west fork of Vasquez creek. The trail has weeds over your head. We trampled some with search and rescue, but it is terrible going.

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