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DesertMud - Hiking, Mountain Biking, Pine Trees, Southern California
Hiking Mountain Biking Pine Trees Apr 12, 2024
Special Instructions
Wilderness Permit Req'd
Lytle Creek Ranger Station
1209 Lytle Creek Road
Lytle Creek, CA 92358
(909) 887-2576
NF Adventure Pass Req'd

Related Hikes (8)
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3T's plus Harwood and Baldy loop hike to 5 peaks
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Stockton Flat to Thunder Mountain via Mount Baldy Road
Wright & Pine Mountains from Guffy Campground
Telegraph Peak via Coldwater Canyon
Blue Ridge to Mount Baldy Pine Mountain, Dawson Peak, Mt Baldy, West Baldy
Blue Ridge to Pine Mountain from Guffy Campground to Pine Mountain

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You are here: Home : Hiking Last Updated on 06/23/2001    
Diff: Rating 8/10
Scenic: Rating 8/10
Tech: Rating 5/10
Telegraph Peak
         via Coldwater Canyon
Location: San Gabriel Mountains, Angeles National Forest, Southern California
Region: Mount Baldy Region
Wilderness: Cucamonga Wilderness
Total Distance: 11 Mi
Elevation Gain: 4,000 Ft
Season: April-Nov
Type: Loop
Start Elev: 5,020 Ft
Peak Elev: 8,985 Ft
Total Time: 6.3 hr
Time In: 3.5 hr
Time Out: 2.8 hr

Peak List Peak List
Peak Name Elevation
Telegraph Peak 8,985 Ft

Hike added by
on 06/23/2001
Driving Directions
Take Hwy 138 to Hwy 2. Take Hwy 2 to Sheep Creek Dr & make a left. Follow Sheep Creek Dr to end (stop sign). Make left on Lone Pine Canyon Rd & go ~4 miles to forest Rd 3N31.1? (Lytle Creek Rd). Follow this for a few miles (maybe ~6 or so). The main thing to find the correct spot and not take the wrong fork in the road (it forks a few times) is to keep aiming toward Telegraph Peak and Coldwater Canyon. Make a right onto Mt Baldy Rd (3N33?) & go a little ways. Then take a small fairly poor dirt road to the left, which runs along North Fork Lytle Creek, and go about 1/4 mile and park somewhere in there near the base of Coldwater Canyon.
Start hiking up the Canyon towards the Telegraph-Timber Saddle. At the top of the saddle is the trail that will take you the rest of the way to Telegraph Peak.
This was a cool hike and it was a really cool way to get to Telegraph Peak. Coldwater Canyon was dry near the base and remained dry for a little while. It eventually had a small amount of water and then got dry again near the top. Where there was water there were mosquitos and gnats. The canyon was filled with broken trees and tree parts from the heavy snows this last winter. There was potential for debris dams in a few places. All the debris made it a little difficult to get up the canyon in a few spots. There was a lower patch of snow (below ~7000ft) that was heavily covered with branches and about 100ft in length. There two much larger patches of snow (visible from the high desert) further up ~7200ft+ which looked like minature valley glaciers. The snow was at least 5-6ft deep in some places & the surface was soft, not icy. These upper patches of snow were quite large stretching from canyon wall to canyon wall and maybe 1/4 in length. At the side of one of the snow patches there was this cave looking thing up on the east canyone wall. Jerry checked it out and it was only a few feet deep. Further up, the snow was confined to a narrow valley ~10-15ft wide & ~3ft deep. The upper part of the canyon got pretty steep and we headed up the barren saddle which was stop and go for about 6-8 minutes because of the steepness. The sandiness of this slope (~4in thick layer of sand/gravel which gradually thinned nearest the top of the saddle to about 2in thick) provided a respectable amount of sure-footedness without the fear of sliding back down the mountain more than a foot or two. Once on the saddle, take the easy trail on up to the peak; sign in can; realize it's 7:30pm & gonna get dark soon. Head back down trail and follow it up around Timber Mtn? (I think) to Mt Baldy Road and take the long walk down the road back. We were walkin in the dark for ~ 2 hours or so, tripping over a lot of rocks and stuff looking at the stars. Long easy walk out. The road gets more rocky/bumpy after we passed thru the closed gate and headed by the two campgrounds out there (Bighorn and Stockton Flat Campgrounds). Two campfires going out there and the smell of potatos in the air. There was also someone at Coldwater Campground, which is up the canyon a little ways, & they had this huge campfire going - we were far above them on Mt Baldy Rd.
Trail Condition
Coldwater Canyon: no trail except near the base of the canyon. Minor climbing with hands to heights of about 12ft on rocks. Thick brush and tree debris forced us to edge along the canyon wall (out of the creek) for a short distance. Snow was hollow underneath and caused us to fall in about a foot or so in a few places until we landed on branches underneath or the ground/water in creek. Not much water to deal with. Snow a little slippery. Huge rocks/tree parts on TOP of snow - interesting. Area below saddle was quite steep & slightly tiring. Switchbacking trail to peak was easy & in good condtion.
Forest Details
Bottom of Canyon: mix of scrub and thin conifers. Middle Canyon: Dense, mostly decidious & thick (but bendable!) scrub, small covered snow patch. Middle-Upper canyon: open, rocky, sparse, lots of tree debris, large snow patches. Upper canyon: sparse vegetation, rocky, dry. Trail to peak: Jeffery & Lodgepole pine. Some sugar here and there and also along Mt Baldy Rd.
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