Hike to Mount Lawlor 5928 ft. in Angeles National Forest

HIKE TO: Mount Lawlor
TRAIL: Strawberry Peak Trail > Firebreak
MILES: 4.55 miles loop
TIME:  2:43 hr
DATE I WENT: 2/14/20
DIFFICULTY: moderate
ELEVATION: 5928 ft
PARKING PERMIT: yes, the US National Parks Pass doubles as an Adventure pass in Angeles National Forest
LOCATION: Angeles National Forest

Mount Lawlor (5928 ft) in Angeles National Forest is a relatively easy and short hike in the Angeles National Forest with one extremely steep section that can be avoided. The trail connects with Strawberry Peak but because of the steep section, this trail is more secluded and offers unbeatable views.

The trail to Mt. Lawlor starts at the Strawberry Peak Trailhead off Angeles Crest, just past the Red Box area. There are two ways to reach Mt. Lawlor – you can hike the trail as a lollipop loop (written in this blog post) or you can hike the Strawberry Peak trail, up to Firebreak ridge trail, then back down the same way for a slightly longer but more gradual and safer hike.

What to Pack for a Half-Day Hike in Angeles National Forest

  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking socks – highly recommend Eddie Bauer merino wool or Darn Tough
  • Sun hat
  • Nalgene bottle *Pro tip* on a hot day, freeze 1/4 of your water bottle the night before and fill the rest with water in the morning so you have ice water on your hike!
  • Warm jacket
  • Headlamp – it’s always good to have this in case of emergencies

Mt. Lawlor Trip Report

The trail starts very flat for the first 1.1 miles, gaining only 399 ft of elevation.

Once you reach the open area, the steep firebreak trail on the right shoots straight up to Mt. Lawlor – it gains 910 ft in only 0.3 miles (took me 45 mins to go up this section with breaks). Keep in mind that the entire loop gains 1309 ft total, so this is where most of the elevation gain is.

The firebreak trail is fully exposed, has slippery terrain, feels steeper than it looks, and maxes out at a slope of 48 degrees. I crawled up a lot of it and slipped a few times but if you’re an experienced hiker, the trail is more fun than sketchy and a fun workout. From the ground, you cannot see the top.

Once you reach the summit, there’s a nice rock stack to enjoy a lunch break and 360 views from if you continue to the east for 2-5 mins. You can see Mt. Baldy, Mt. Wilson, Strawberry Peak, Angeles Crest, Catalina Island, and Downtown Los Angeles if you look closely.

When you’re ready to hike down, the firebreak trail continues on the west side of the summit. This trail requires a bit of route-finding since it’s a bit overgrown and has teeny tiny scramble sections, but if you have a good sense of direction, you should be fine. The ridge has a lot of spiky plants so I suggest wearing pants/ leggings!

The trail down hikes along the ridge with epic views of Strawberry Peak directly in front of you. Once you reach the junction in 0.6 miles, you can hike 1.1 miles to Strawberry Peak or hang left to hike back about 2.5 miles on the scenic Strawberry Peak Trail.

The Strawberry Peak trail is a narrow, dirt trail, following along the mountain-side for 1.3 miles before descending back into the tree area and can get a bit crowded, but we didn’t see anybody on the entire Firebreak Trail, making it the perfect option to escape the crowds on a beautiful Sunday.

*Tip: Best Time to Hike Mt. Lawlor

The first time I hiked the Strawberry Peak trail was for sunset in the Spring… and it was beyond beautiful, one of my favorite sunset hikes in the Angeles National Forest. Bookmark this for a sunset hike, preferably in April/May!

mt lawlor gps chart

Thanks for Reading!

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