HIKE TO: Jones Peak via Bailey Canyon TRAILHEAD: Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park MILES: 6.6 miles TIME: 3-4 hrs DATE I WENT: 11/12/14 DIFFICULTY: moderate-strenuous ELEVATION: 3,386 ft ELEVATION GAIN: 2,200 ft HIKE PERMIT: no PARKING: park (closes at sunset) or residential street LOCATION: Sierra Madre, Southern California
Where is Bailey Canyon?
Jones Peak Hike from Bailey Canyon is located above Sierra Madre in Southern California. It is on the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains which makes it one of the easier-to-access training hikes without having to drive up a mountain road to start.
How High Is Jones Peak?
Jones Peak sits at an elevation of 3,386 ft. It is short but steep with an elevation gain of 2,200 ft in about 3.3 miles one way.
This was the most intense hike I’ve done up until this point in 2014. I wanted to start hiking trails at higher elevation to give me more of a challenge. I wanted to push myself and I know not many are down to embark on this journey with me. As a beginner hiker, the bear warning sign at the parking lot made me nervous. It doesn’t help that I saw two foxes or coyotes at the beginning of the trail which left me frozen in fear for a solid 5-10 minutes before my coworker had to come back and convince me to move on.
Bailey Canyon Trail to Jones Peak
My coworker and I hiked Jone’s Peak at Bailey Canyon Park in the Sierra Madre mountains on 11.12.14. This is the first peak I hiked in the San Gabriel Mountains and although it seems small in altitude and distance compared to nearby peaks, the elevation gain will make you sweat.
The Bailey Canyon Trail starts at Bailey Canyon Wilderness Park. Since the park closes at sunset, you can park on the residential street (N Grove St) and walk Carter Ave if it’s not fenced off.
From the park, you’ll exit on the west end to and walk up a paved road passing the empty Bailey Debris Basin until you reach the trailhead at the end on the left.
The Bailey Canyon Trail passes the Live Oak Nature Trail – you will not pass a bridge to stay on the trail. Another blog mislead us there and we were lost for an hour. The trail is the same that you take towards the waterfall, but instead of staying flat on the trail to the falls, head up when evident. It is mostly shaded as you’re hiking in a canyon until you start to get higher, and offers views of the city for most of the hike.
The hike has a lot of switchbacks and gains a lot of elevation from the beginning. There is a bench about one mile in with a beautiful view of Sierra Madre, Arcadia, and all of East San Gabriel.
Note: I’ve come up to this bench for a quick mile hike for a sunset view and this is not a great sunset view hike.
After taking in the bench views, the trail ascends steeply right away just for what you can see and then flattens out a little until you reach the cabin ruins. The ruins are about ⅔ of the hike in.
The final section to reach Jones peak, where you make a sharp right turn towards it instead of continuing straight to connect with the Mount Wilson Trail, is steep – very steep. The dirt can be loose with small rocks so hiking shoes are definitely recommended over common gym shoes. Keep an eye out for this junction as it can be easily overlooked and missed.
Jones Peak California Summit – I’m In the Clouds!
The morning started chilly but it made for an epic experience hiking in the clouds on the summit of Jones Peak. There is another bench up here now and a wide open space to relax, have a snack, and take in the views, before heading down.
Bear note: on dry years, bears have been seen on the trail to come down for water. In 2016, there was actually a bear attack when a hiker got caught between two bears so just be bear aware.
The Wrap-Up: Jones Peak via Bailey Canyon
The short and steep Bailey Canyon hiking trail to Jones Peak in Sierra Madre is a great workout if you are training for a big mountain, gaining 2,200 ft in 3.3 miles. The trail also connects with Mount Wilson and Mount Harvard if you are peak bagging.