• Activities:

    Photography, Backpacking, Hiking

  • Skill Level:


  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:


  • RT Distance:

    6 Miles

Easy Parking

Sitting at just over 8,000 feet, Mt. Waterman is a sprawling summit with fantastic forest views. This 6 miler is perfect hike for city folks in Los Angeles looking to take their hiking to the next step. This is a great hike to escape the crowds of Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park. Duration: 3-4 hours.

Mt. Waterman is accessed along Highway 2 in the Angeles National Forest. Heading east from La Canada look for mileage marker 58.0 (34 miles from La Canada) just past the closed ski resort. Park at one of the large paved turn outs on your left. Display an Adventure Pass ($5 at Ranger Station or Big 5 Sporting Goods). If you come to Buckhorn Campground entrance you have gone too far on Hwy 2 (U-turn, parking on right now). The trail head is accessed by walking downhill (east) on Hwy 2 about 100 yards to a dirt road with a locked gate on the opposite or right side of the road from your parking location. Walk around the gate & follow the dirt road 50 yards, a well defined trail will appear on your left, turn left off the dirt road onto the trail & you're on your way.

Once on the trail it is quite straight forward. As mentioned this is the perfect trip to take new, but adventurous hikers because the scenery is absolutely spectacular, it is a good work out & the rewards are instant. The giant pines & incense cedar have been untouched by fire & grow wildly huge from the very beginning. The trail winds at just the right uphill grade that there is no real strenuous work until further into the hike, allowing the traveler to really take in the surroundings.

At 1.25 miles hikers will reach a saddle with huge views into remote Bear Canyon & on to the infamous Triplet Rocks. The trail bends right here & continues uphill along the ridge. A half mile later there is a signed split junction with Twin Peaks one way & yours the other. Make sure to make another right here as the trail continues uphill towards the summit. These final switchbacks are a bit more steep than the lower portions, but by no means over exhausting. As you climb higher the actual trail follows closely below the summit, watch for a well traveled spur trail that splits to the left & heads about 500 yards up to large set of boulders. This is the shortest, but steepest portion of the hike. Move past the first large set of rocks & onto the second formation where the true summit of Mt. Waterman is. You will see that the entire summit is a sprawling huge area that has many cool things to explore. Even larger rock formations to conquer for fun are a bit further north west past the summit.

Return the way you came. This will provide great views out to Pleasant View Ridge & on to 10,000 foot Mt. Baldy at times.

For the backpackers out there, this is a fun area to explore about 2 miles into the hike before the junction with Twin Peaks. Large open flat areas with grand views reward a small bit of off trail exploration. Be warned there is always wind on this mountain come evening time. Carry all your water, no sources.

History Tid Bits:

Formally know as Lady Mt. Waterman, this summit was originally named for Liz Waterman. In 1889 Liz, her husband Bob & Commodore Ferry Switzer crossed the San Gabriel Mountain Range on foot. Liz was believed to be the first white woman to do such, thus naming the peak after her. The USGS left the Lady portion off at one point & unfortunately has never been restored. Mt. Waterman also is home to a "weather dependent" ski resort that opened in 1939. It claims to have opened the first ever ski chair lift in the US on January 1, 1941.

Pack List

  • Backpack
  • Sturdy shoes or trail runners
  • Comfortable hiking clothes
  • Map
  • Extra warm layer
  • Water (2+ liters or as you see fit)
  • Food/lunch
  • Adventure Pass (for car window)
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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

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Overall rating: 

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Mt Waterman is a great day hike, especially for anyone looking to escape the ever sprawling Los Angeles. There are two ways to the top, the fire road is a short and sweet wide open dirt road that will take you directly to the Mt Waterman Ski area. The Mt Waterman Trail is a narrow well maintained hiking trail that winds through the trees on its way to the top. Do be mind full that it gets cold and windy at the top so bring an extra outer layer or two.

11 months ago
11 months ago

Jeremy Boggs

Californian looking to see as much of this world as possible. Up for outdoor adventures of all kinds & making sure my comfort zone is left far at home.

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