Distance: 8 miles
Time: around 3 hours
Elevation gain: 1,898 feet
Difficulty: easy–moderate

Drive: 20 minutes from Pasadena old town (Clear Creek ranger centre)
Trails of the Angeles hike no. 35
Modern Hiker has a helpful description here
And scroll to the bottom for an alternative (8.7-mile) version which skips the peak – nice for the winter

This is one of the few hikes we’ve done twice. Second time round, it was an obvious choice for my first weekend back to Pasadena: it’s a steady, simple ascent up a fire road close to home, to a peak with excellent views of LA and (on a clear day) the sea beyond, as well as north into Big Tujunga canyon. You also have views of the tall spiky Strawberry Peak to the east – and at 2.4 miles there’s a trail off to the right along to Josephine Saddle and Strawberry.

For the ascent up to the 2.4 mile mark you’re on the south side of the slope, with lovely views almost from the start.

IMG_20171119_132942-resized

The end of that section is a nice point to stop for a drink and admire the northerly and easterly views that have opened up.

IMG_20171119_140227-resized

IMG_20171119_135641-resized

Then the fire road wraps round the back for most of the final stretch that leads you to the short path up to summit.

IMG_20171119_144039-resized

IMG_20171119_152421-resized

Our second time doing this hike we had our picnic not at the summit but on a more private rocky spine just off the track on one of the east-facing hairpins fairly close to the top.

IMG_20180415_144025-resized

IMG_20180415_143741-resized

 

*Update/variant February 2019*

In the cooler months the fire road winding up the north slope of Josephine above the saddle is chilly and not particularly appealing, so this time we decided to skip the summit and take the path north-east from the saddle: a path which leads ultimately to Strawberry Meadow (a place less utterly romantic than it sounds, but still pretty nice, and the subject of a future post). So we had our picnic on the saddle and then continued east, past the water tank where the Strawberry Trail meets the Colby Canyon Trail up from the highway. After that, the path snakes only very gently uphill around the western flank of Strawberry Peak, offering enticing new variants on the vista with every twist. You can go as far along here as you want – we stopped and retraced our steps when the path reached its northernmost point before heading east along a very cold and snowy-looking north-facing slope, about 1.5 miles and 40 minutes from our picnic spot on Josephine Saddle.

Then, to make a bit more of a circular route out of it, we retraced our steps 30 minutes and about 1.4 miles to the junction with the 2-mile Colby Canyon Trail at the water tank. This way it’s about 55 minutes and 2.5 miles down to the road, and a final 15 minutes and 0.8 miles up the road back to the parking spot at Clear Creek. Total time for this one, about 3 hours 20 minutes; total distance about 8.7 miles. A very nice loop!

 

IMG_20190216_140228-resized

Admiring Strawberry Peak all sugar-dusted.

 

IMG_20190216_141145-resized

And admiring the glinting ocean…

 

IMG_20190216_144110-resized

…and more admiration with lubrication.

 

IMG_20190216_150736-resized

Setting off, thus fortified, intrepidly into the snow

 

And, to finish, six shifting vistas in six-and-a-half minutes of the Strawberry Trail:

IMG_20190216_151917-resized

IMG_20190216_151925-resized

IMG_20190216_152018-resized

IMG_20190216_152028-resized

IMG_20190216_152359-resized

IMG_20190216_152546-resized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s