Hike to Mt. Disappointment

Rate this Adventure Los Angeles Billy Reily Trailhead

Added by Michael Wigle

The only thing disappointing about Mt. Disappointment is that it is within 90 minutes of 15 million people and virtually unknown. This is the best way to view both the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Los Angeles. Enjoy peaceful views on clear nights a hundred miles past the Channel Islands!

From the 210 Freeway in La Cañada, take California Highway 2 north 14 miles up into the San Gabriel Mountains. Make sure you have your National Forest Pass (sold at REI or Ranger Station) or your Interagency Pass because they have started checking parked vehicles. At the Red Box Picnic area, make a right onto Mt. Wilson road. About 1,000 up the road and onto the right is a pull off and dirt parking lot. Up this road there is a gate with additional parking. This is where the Bill Reilly trailhead begins.

The trailhead is in the apex of the corner behind the parking areas in a gravel gully going up a series a switch backs. It is not well marked, but you can spot the switchbacks in the loose rock by finding the gabions (cages with rocks in them) holding the trail back. This section is steep so take your time to pace into the hike. The trail is easy to find even in the dark. It rises through Scrub Oak and Manzanita forests as it rises 1,000 feet up onto the plateau. At the top the trail comes out onto the service road. Head left until you see the helicopter pad. To the right is the road to the peak.

Follow the road up to the shortened peak. The military knocked 50 feet off the top to make room for a Nike missile site during the cold war. Explore the missile pad and rock outcropping on the western face. It offers panoramic views for hundreds of miles above one of the steepest and most prominent mountain faces in the world. Make this trek before sunset, and chill long into the night as the western granite gives off heat from the sun, warming you even though the temperatures drop.

Bust open your IceMule Pack Cooler and share a few Eagle Rock Manifesto beers. The California views here in summer go on forever!

Pack List

  • IceMule Pro Cooler
  • Teton Sports Self-Inflating Seat Cushion
  • Smith Optics sunglasses
  • Fleece Blanket
  • Black Diamond headlamp
  • Trail Running Shoes
  • Lightweight jacket
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



Chillin, Fitness, Hiking, Photography, Running

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



3 Miles

Elev. Gain:

1200 Feet


Adult Beverages
Dog Friendly
Family Friendly

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 Michael Wigle

Exploring this incredible world with Film / Photography / Stories

More Adventures Nearby

Run the Old Youth Camp Loop

Los Angeles / Stough Canyon Nature Center

The Old Youth Camp Loop is a 2.6-mile loop with over 700 feet of elevation gain that can be ran, hiked, or even mountain biked if you prefer.

Kayak the Marina Del Rey Harbor

Los Angeles / Marina Beach (Mother's Beach)

The Marina Del Rey harbor covers 1.5 square miles making it the world’s largest small-craft harbor.

Be inspired at Watts Towers

Los Angeles / Watts Towers of Simon Rodia SHP

Watts Towers are a quick 15-20 minute ride from Downtown Los Angeles on the Metro.

Joe Ankenbauer
3 Saves