Thursday, November 3, 2011

Mt. Willson Toll Road to Henninger Flats

Date/ Time:
October 31, 2011

Nearby City:
Altadena, CA

Driving Directions:
Take the 210 freeway and exit Hill Ave. in 0.2 miles merge onto East Corson St. Follow Corson  for 0.5 miles and turn Left onto North Allen Ave and follow for 2.7 miles and then make a slight right onto Pinecrest Dr. In 0.2 miles turn right again to stay on Pinecrest Dr. Follow this road till you see a large gate with signs and a bunch of locks on it; you have arrived. You will quickly notice that parking here is only 2 hours. If you plan on staying longer continue down Pinecrest Dr. past the entrance till you reach Bowring Dr. make a right  and park. You can also park at the Eaton Canyon Parking Area but that adds a small amount of time to your hike.

Entrance/ Parking Fee:
None (2 hour parking on Pinecrest Dr.) Eaton Canyon parking lot is free as well (no adventure pass is needed to park)

Sunrise to sunset - if you park at Pinecrest Dr. be warned that the gate can be and might be shut and locked while you are still inside. If this is the case you have to walk all the way to the Eaton Canyon parking lot and nature center and take street routs back up to your car.

Easy/ Strenuous

The easy part is the fire road; if you have ever hiked a fire road before you know it usually well maintained and a wide trail. The trail is all up hill to the flats and can be strenuous for some.

Elevation Gain/Loss:
Trailhead- 1310'
Henninger Flats- 2932''
Total Loss/ Gain- 1360'

Eaton Canyon- 960'
Mt. Wilson- 5710'
Mt. Lowe- 5603'

November - June

The trail to Henninger Flats is a fire road that is very exposed with little to no shade so this trail is best hiked in cooler months.

Cell Service:
T-Mobile - No service at trailhead but I got spotty service along the trail and at Henninger Flats.

Mt. Wilson Toll Road to Henninger Flats- 5.4 miles round trip
Eaton Canyon Falls- 3 miles round trip

Trail Conditions:
The trial is in great condition with plenty of signs pointing you in the right direction and benches to rest and enjoy the views along the trail.

Trail Directions:
Starting at the gated entrance on Pinecrest Dr. walk past the gate down a paved road to a bridge. Once over the bridge you can either take the trail to the left that heads up or take the trail to the right that takes you to the Eaton Canyon Falls trail. Follow the trail as it steadily climbs up into the mountains with amazing views of the surrounding cities; you will eventually start to see benches to rest at. Soon you will reach a junction; if you go to the right that trail will wind its way all the way down to Eaton Canyon Falls trail or go left and continue up to Henninger Flats. In 2 miles you'll reach the mile marker saying 7/10 mile left. From here you area able to see parts of Henninger Flats, just look for a large group of trees that look like they don't belong. Once at the flats enjoy the nature center and all the interesting mining equipment on display around the camp sites and picnic area. When you're done go back down the mountain the way you came, for a longer hike I recommend doing the Eaton Canyon Falls trail as well. Be warned the gate where you parked can and may be locked while you are still in the canyon.

Other Activities:
Trail running
Dogs allowed on leash!
Nature center
Museum at Flats

Eaton Canyon Natural Area

Jessie's Thoughts:
This hike was a lot of fun. I recommend it for anyone who wants a small challenge when hiking. Once at Henninger Flats the views and sites around the Flat is amazing! If you go slow and on a cool day this is a great hike for families. We went on a Monday and other than passing a few people along the trail there was no one at the flat so we had it all to ourselves. Once at the flat you can enjoy a lookout tower with equipment on display inside. There's also a nature center, an old cabin with an outhouse, and a short nature trail that leads you around the outer perimeter of Henninger Flats. As soon as you've seen all there is to see and learn about, head back down the mountain to where the trail meets Eaton Canyon trail and follow that for a short distance to a waterfall with a large pool at the base.


View Jessie's Trails in a larger map


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