Hike Iron Mountain via Heaton Flats

Rate this Adventure Los Angeles East Fork

Added by Drew Robinson

14 miles roundtrip with over 7000ft of elevation gainReach the summit of Iron Mountain, with great views of Mt. BaldyOne of the most difficult hikes in the San Gabriels

To reach the 8007 ft summit of Iron Mountain via Heaton Flats, you start from the Heaton Flats trailhead north of Azuza (2200 ft). The parking lot is completely full by 8am most weekends, with day hikers heading out on the much more popular “Bridge to Nowhere” hike. Iron Mountain is definitely a great hike if you like solitude. After starting towards Iron Mountain, you're unlikely to see many others. From the parking lot, you make your way down an access road to the Heaton Flats Trailhead. If you head right, you’ll be on your way to Iron Mountain, if you stay on the road (left), you’ll be on your way to the Bridge to Nowhere.

The trail starts out with a smooth singletrack that begins gaining instantly. The difference between the trailhead elevation and the Iron Mountain summit elevation is about 5800 ft (2200 to 8000)… but because of the roller coaster nature of the trail, the total elevation gain is 7200 ft! This is a trail that is not used very frequently, as the surrounding shrubs and brush constantly reminded me. I can’t even begin to count the number of times my skin jousted with a yucca plant and lost.

One of the major benefits to the solitude on this hike is getting to see the flora and fauna without disruption. One of the major highlights was seeing a horned lizard just after entering the Sheep Mountain Wilderness Area.

After about 4.5 miles of hiking the trail really starts to increase in steepness. There are certain sections that feel like climbing straight up a wall. To make things tougher, you have to dodge the aforementioned yucca spears and keep your footing in some shifty gravel ruts.

The final half mile to the summit of Iron Mountain is a rather enjoyable one. After climbing almost 2000 ft of elevation in the final mile of hiking, the smell of victory grows closer than ever.

The difficulty of the climb to the summit pays off with the ultimate reward. There is no bad view from the summit of Iron Mountain, with a breathtaking 360 degree vantage point in the heart of the San Gabriels.

The descent towards the parking lot is more difficult in some ways than the climb. Walking downhill is tough on the legs in the best of conditions, but with this grade and some shifty ruts, you need to move very carefully.

Pack List

  • Hiking Essentials
  • Hiking Shoes
  • At least 5L of water
  • Camera
  • Sun ProtectionAdventure PassSelf Issue Permit in parking lot
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Advanced

Season:

Year Round

Features:

Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Drew Robinson

trailtopeak.com // Instagram: @trailtopeak

More Adventures Nearby

Hike to La Jolla Canyon Falls

Los Angeles / Ray Miller Trailhead

...I think out of all the State Parks in the Santa Monica Mountains, Point Mugu State Park is without a doubt the best one.

Derek Mathewson
4 Saves

Camp at Lower Springhill

Los Angeles / Lower Springhill Campground

The Lower Springhill Campground is a primitive campsite situated along the Kern River in the southern area of Sequoia National Forest.

Bianca Isidro
4 Saves

Visit the Secret Swing in Elysian Park

Los Angeles / Elysian Park Swing

For the most direct directions to the swing, plug in "Swing on top of Elysian Park" into google maps, which will take you directly to the trailhead.

Tori Marsh
12 Saves