The hike to Sunset Peak is a winding fire-road hike to one of the front peaks near the Mt. Baldy Area. This is the longer but less strenuous of two routes and offers outstanding, panoramic views of the Baldy Bowl and – on clear days – the seemingly never-ending sprawl of the foothill cities. On the peak’s summit are the remains of an old fire tower that burned down years ago.
The Baldy Bowl may be my favorite hiking area in the entire San Gabriel Mountains. Sure, there’s the prominent namesake peak, but there are also the impressive “Three Tees” – Timber, Thunder, and Telegraph, the twin sentinels of Cucamonga and Ontario, and many more miles of wilderness trails on the north side of the mountains. For this trip, I set my sights on the least tall of the Baldy Bowl Peaks — Sunset Peak.
Located on the western side of San Antonio Canyon, Sunset Peak promised to offer some great views of both the mountains and the cities below, and — with the recent precipitation we’ve been blessed with — some snow-covered alpine scenery, too. From the exit off the 210, I could already see that Ontario Peak had a healthy dusting.
The view from the trailhead was already impressive — as the Sprawl Cities lay to my south and Lookout Mountain and a large chunk of Baldy guarded the north.
The trail is on this Forest Service road, which slowly and deliberately winds its way to the summit. While I was hiking up, I didn’t pass anyone but did see several hikers’ trails in the small bits of remaining snow, along with a fair share of dog and horse tracks.
Instead, I took in the views from this area, which encompasses a nearly 360 degree view of the San Antonio Canyon and Baldy Bowl. The view from the actual peak will be better, but this is still pretty impressive when you first lay eyes on it. The long, sloping ridge of Baldy dominates to the left, with Thunder, Telegraph, and Timber in the center, and the north slope of Bighorn on the right.
Very good. It's fire road almost all of the way, so it's wide and relatively level. Junctions aren't marked, but just keep going up and you should be fine.
From the 210, take exit 52 at Base Line Road. Head west on Base Line Road at the exit and turn right onto Padua Avenue. In 1.8 miles, turn right onto Mt. Baldy Road. 7.1 miles later, make a sharp left onto Glendora Ridge Road. The fire road trailhead will be on the south side of the road in 4.2 miles. Note that these roads may be closed or require chains during the winter months.
With recent wildfire damage and ongoing waves of COVID-19 infections and restrictions, National Forest, National Park, and other public land closures, restrictions, or social distancing guidelines may be in-effect.
If infection rates are on the rise, please do your best to remain local for your hikes. If you do travel, please be mindful of small gateway communities and avoid as much interaction as you can. Also remember to be extra prepared with supplies so you don't have to stop somewhere outside your local community for gas, food, or anything else.
Please be sure to contact the local land management agency BEFORE you head out, as these conditions are likely to change without enough notice for us to fully stay on top of them. Thanks, and stay safe!
Click here to read the current CDC guidelines for traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.