Posted by: GeekHiker | March 16, 2008

HIKE: Strawberry Peak

As you may remember, one of my very minor goals this year was to break out of the rut of trails I’d been hiking and strike out on some new ones. The first of these was one of the two hikes I did a week ago.

I’ve passed by Strawberry Peak, the highest in the front range of the San Gabriels at 6,164 feet, more times than I can count. Its stark face is prominently visible from along the drive up Highway 2 as it heads into the high country. Three sides of the peak are very steep, leaving only one relatively easy ascent from the east side. This is the one a couple of friends and I tackled for my first bagging of the summit.

Strawberry Peak 01

Strawberry Peak seen from Highway 2

Start the hike from Red Box Gap, located 14 miles above La Canada Flintridge at the turn off for the Mt. Wilson Road. After parking, cross the highway heading north and immediately pick up the old fire road. The trail starts up along the ridge heading east, darting in and out from shady oak trees.

Strawberry Peak 07

Starting up the shady part of the trail to Strawberry Peak

Before too long, you’ll emerge from the shade at the ridgeline; continue straight along the trail as it contours along the mountainside (don’t make the mistake of turning left and following the old telephone poles, as I did!). You’ll be heading west now, and the remainder of the trail from here to the peak is sunny and exposed.

Strawberry Peak 02

Sunny, exposed trail to Strawberry Peak

After inclining upward for 2.3 miles you’ll arrive at a signed trail junction. Take the left trail (once a fire break) that will take you the remaining mile to the peak. The trail is not in very good shape now, with sandy portions and some steep rocky inclines.

Strawberry Peak 03

Nearing Strawberry Peak

Strawberry Peak 04

Turkey Vulture near the top of the peak

After a mile of climbing out along the ridge, you’ll arrive at the summit, shaded by some small, wind blown pine trees. The northern face, out of the sun all day, still held patches of snow on our arrival.

Strawberry Peak 05

Final leg of the trail to the peak; note the snow patches on the north side

The view isn’t quite so grand as from San Gabriel Peak (which blocks the view of the basin from Strawberry Peak), but does look down the Big Tujunga watershed and, given it’s height and distance from the basin, is generally free of the dust and haze that plagues the closer peaks.

Strawberry Peak 06

View of Mt. Baldy and the high country from Strawberry Peak

Return by the same route.

Strawberry Peak 08

Twisted tree trunk along the trail down

Total Distance: 6.6 miles

Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,900′/1,900′


Directions: From Interstate 210, exit Highway 2 North in La Canada Flintridge. Follow the highway 14 miles to the Red Box parking area. National Forest Pass required.



  1. Sounds like another good one. Sometimes it’s the left at the old telephone poles that make the trail interesting.

  2. /applaud

    These type of blogs shame me into wondering why I can’t do the same with my hikes. Wait, that’s because I haven’t done any substantial hikes this year. 😦

  3. Homer-Dog – not so much in this case; following the poles would have led us right back to the parking lot!

    Aaron – Thanks. You’ll get out soon enough!

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