This Sunday morning I finished hike number 17/52 for the 52 Hike Challenge in 2015, and have now completed 198.5 of my goal of 1000 miles for this year. After hiking Mt. Baldy on Saturday, I wanted to get an easier hike in with Julia and the dogs to finish out the week. Sitton Peak is the perfect hike for this purpose as it gains just over 2000 ft for a 10 mile round trip hike. The trailhead is located on SR 74 right next to the Ortega Oaks Candy Store. The parking lot is located across the street from the candy store and requires an adventure pass. From the parking lot you can jump on the San Juan Loop Trail and hike to Chiquito Falls, but for this hike, you need to cross the street and head towards the Bear Canyon Trailhead.
The trail starts out on a smooth, sandy, and shaded track. The perfect beginning to get warmed up and allow the dogs to settle in. It wasn’t long before we came upon the first trail junction, where you head right. The entire trail is very well marked, with white stakes baring the names of each trail and location.
The next junction you’ll come upon has no wrong choice. We took a left which adds a little distance to the hike, but you can also go right on the Sitton Peak truck trail to arrive at Sitton Peak. We took the truck trail route on the return leg. At this point in the hike, the shade all but disappears and the first great views of the area start to appear. This trail is a little overgrown, so you may want to wear pants if you’re not a fan of your legs getting scratched up. It wasn’t long before we met back up with the truck trail and began the final section of hiking towards Sitton Peak.
The final hike up to Sitton Peak is very steep. It’s not a very long climb, but it goes straight up, and the loose gravel and rocks underfoot don’t make for the best traction. The dogs had a great time on this section even though they were both panting at their highest rate of the day. After five miles of hiking, we made it to the summit of Sitton Peak and enjoyed the 360 degree views.
Hiking down the steep section of trail was an experience. Isla chose to stay close by, but Lilly acted like a puppy and flew down the trail like a bobsled. As mentioned before, we took the truck trail back, and finished the 10 mile hike in around 3 hours 45 minutes. The dogs were dusty, dirty, and very happy. A great day all around.