39-3 Bailey Canyon to Mt. Wilson Toll Road, Henninger Flats, Eaton Canyon Nature Center

Participants: Craig Cheetham and Tom Chester
Date: 25 March 1997 (Written up 27-28 March 1997)

Distance: 12 miles
Cumulative altitude gain and loss: +3150' / -3150'
Plot of altitude versus distance using mileage from my pedometer and altitude from my altimeter.
My total trip time: 8 hours

Trailhead location: This hike requires a car shuttle.
Park one car at the parking lot at Eaton Canyon Nature Center, just north of New York Drive on Altadena Drive. Go back to New York Drive and turn left, curving around the debris dam for a little over a mile, and turn left at the second light, Sierra Madre Blvd. Continue east for about half a mile, then turn left (north) on Michillinda Blvd. Turn right at the third street on your right, Grand View, at the far end of the school, and turn left on the third street on your left, Grove. Bailey Canyon Park is at the north end of Grove Street in Sierra Madre. Park in the parking lot of Bailey Canyon Park, open dawn to dusk. Bailey Canyon Park did not exist when the older edition of the Mt. Wilson topo map was made, so do not expect to find it on the topo map prior to the 1995 revision.

Trail maps, current trail condition and hiking directions

Comments and logs from this 1997 trip:

Bailey Canyon is well on the way to recovery from the 1993 fire. The Bailey Canyon Trail is no longer choked with tall grasses seeded after the fire, and burnt manzanita trunks are no longer so evident.

Henninger Flats, on the other hand, looks very different from before the fire. The numerous trees it used to have are all cut down, and except right around the lower campground, the Flats are very open now.

In March 1997, the upper part of the trail from the ruins to the ridge could use some work, as the brush has closed in on several short segments of the trail.

Plants in bloom: California poppy, lupine, ceonothus (California lilac), Spanish broom (just beginning), nightshade, deerweed (California broom), a tiny flower that looks like the flower of baby blue eyes but smaller, and others. California dodder (witch's hair) prominent.
Weather: Sunny, temperature in 70s.
Bugs: Few below 3,000'. Above 3,000', considerable no-see-ums. I got two signature bites: a raised bump 5 mm (1/4") in diameter with a red dot of blood in center. The no-see-ums were quite annoying walking down Toll Road to Henninger Flats, requiring constant waving of a hand in front of face to keep them away.
Number of ticks: 2, an average of 1 per person.
Number of rattlesnakes: 0
Other pests: None.

Explanation of columns for all trip logs

#MileageTime arrivedTime leftAltitudeComments
00.0008:15 1100Bailey Canyon Park.
10.8008:37 1650Achieved Ridge.
21.0008:42 1700 
31.208:49 1850Jct. old/new switchback.
42.0509:18 2400Cabin ruins.
62.7009:45 2900Trail more difficult to follow in places now.
72.7509:51 3000Trail brushy in spots.
82.9009:59 3150Trail very brushy in spots now.
93.0510:09 3250Saddle. Jones Peak to south.
103.3010:39 33507' metal pole with "yield-sign"-like triangle on top.
113.5510:58 37008' diameter rock circle, 2-3 rock-wide border.
123.7011:04 3700An ancient lupine - 2" diameter gnarly trunk with flowers!
133.9511:16 3850Zillions of gopher mounds and holes.
144.1011:31 3950Peak with 8' metal pole with triangle on top.
154.3011:41 4000Forest of knee-high plants in saddle.
164.5011:51 4150Final peak before Toll Road. Metal pole with hole in top which must have been used to carry a wire, with nearby wire.
174.7512:00 4000Bottom of final saddle before Toll Road. "Somewhat tricky but no problem" descent.
185.0012:24 4250Toll Road! Very tricky ascent at end.
195.2012:291:014150Lunch break next to water tank.
205.9501:22 3850Roger Dahl cross.
216.3001:34 3600Saddle. Tree with huge cancerous growth, 10' in diameter. Lots of netting rolls.
227.0501:58 3200Jct. Idlehour Trail.
237.4002:09 2950Jct. Heliport Road.
247.5502:14 2850Jct. former road going east that is often mistaken for Mt. Wilson Toll Road from below.
258.0002:26 2550Henninger Flats.
268.20 03:06 Leaving H.F. after walking around.
279.6503:42 1650Jct. Horse Trail, taking it.
2810.3003:59 1100Eaton Canyon stream bed.
2911.8004:13 1100Eaton Canyon Nature Center parking lot.

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Copyright © 1997-2002 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 1 January 2002.