Distance: 6 miles (9.7 km)
Time: 3 hours with 45ish minutes break
Elevation gain: 1,219 feet (372 metres)
Difficulty: terrain-wise, easy-moderate; navigation-wise, easy; fitness-wise, easy-moderate
Drive: 1 hour 20 minutes (51 miles) from Pasadena old town, on the 210 and the 2 to Dawson Saddle
Trails of the Angeles hike no. 80
Excellent description from Modern Hiker here
Finding ways to escape the cloud lurking over Pasadena is a bit of a theme this spring. This time the combination of unseasonable weather and altitude meant it was properly chilly for the drive and for most of the walk, even though we succeeded in getting above the marine layer into bright blue skies.
Because we hadn’t set off until lunchtime, and it’s a decent drive, we were quite hungry for our lunch by the time we started around 3 pm. We found a lovely picnic spot half an hour along the Dawson Saddle Trail where the hike starts, along the gentle upwards slope of the north ridge of Throop Peak.
Setting off again, still heading south, we enjoyed the two-way views until a bit under the 2-mile mark, where the trail kinks to the east a bit, rounding Throop peak and then joining the Pacific Crest Trail. Almost as soon as you join the PCT you double back on yourself to zigzag up to Throop Peak, where there’s a plaque in honour of Amos Throop (pronounced Troop), who in 1891 founded Throop University, now the California Institute of Technology and the reason for our being here. If only this hadn’t been the single hike where we forgot our hip flask of whisky!
From the summit you follow a faint trail down the southwestern side, basically just following the ridge despite the unclear path, and looking out for a place to scramble down to the PCT coming close on the diagonal. About another mile and the PCT curves off to the west of the peak while you head straight on up to enjoy the views from the top of Mount Hawkins.
On the way back, stay on the PCT to skirt around the east of Throop, and rejoin the Dawson Saddle trail to head home.
(Thanks to Reza for the excellent company and photo contributions!)