Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Route Trail

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There are a few ways to hike to the 5796′ summit of Sunset Peak. I’ve already detailed the fire road trail that approaches the summit from the west in a separate post. In this post, I’ll detail a hike where I combined the two eastern approaches, ascending the east ridge trail route and descending on the eastern approach fire road.
Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail


Directions And GPS Tracks:

  • The trailhead for Sunset Peak is on Glendora Ridge Road, just outside of Mt. Baldy Village. Click here for directions.
  • From the 210, exit Baseline or Mountain and head north towards Mt. Baldy Village. Just before reaching Mt. Baldy Village, take a left on Glendora Ridge Rd and travel 1 mile until you see a yellow gate on your left. When you see the gate, look to your right and you’ll see an parking lot.
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Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail


Key Points:

  • Distance: 5.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1560 ft
  • Minimum Elevation: 4548 ft
  • Maximum Elevation: 5796 ft
  • Time: 2-4 hours
  • Difficulty: (2.5/5)
  • Dog Friendly: Yes
  • Permit Required: No. Adventure Pass required for parking.
  • Parking: There is a large lot just off of Glendora Ridge Rd.
  • Trail Condition: The ridge rout up is a mostly Class 1 hike with a few Class 2 sections. Lots of brush and overgrowth, so pants help a lot.
  • Cell Phone Reception: Very little

Make sure to hike with the right gear. See my current hiking gear list. 


Hike Map And Elevation Profile:

Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail


Hike Description:

0.0 Miles (4548ft)- Starting from the parking lot, cross the street towards the road blocked by a yellow gate. The gated off fire road is also the trail that you will descend for this hiking guide. If you’re not up for a ridge route, you can also go up this fire road to the summit. For those brave enough to tackle the ridge road, you’ll be starting on the fire break ridge just behind the yellow gate.

Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
A look at the ridge and the gated  road.
Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Starting out on the ridge.

You can think of this trail as a roller coaster with three climbs. Fortunately, this ridge route starts out gradually, and doesn’t pick up with earnest until the second half.

At the top of the first climb, you’ll get your first real views of Sunset Peak. You’ll also get a nice view of the ridge route that lies ahead. Don’t forget to look back, as you’ll get to see some of the most notable peaks in the San Gabriel mountains.

Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Looking Forward
Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Looking back

0.8 Miles (5013ft)- The start of the third and final major uphill push on this ridge route can be a bit overgrown in places. There are also some rocky outcrops that require the use of hands and sure footing. Once you reach the 1.0 mile mark, you’ll be climbing 700ft in .7 miles to reach the summit.

Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Brush
Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Heading Up

1.2 Miles (5382ft)- The ridge route intersects with the main road for a short while here. Walk on the fire road for about 100 feet and you’ll see where you can continue along the ridge route.

Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Stay Left
Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Continue Up

1.5 Miles (5760ft)- The ridge route ends here as it joins the main fire road. Continue walking along the fire road for 0.2 miles to reach the summit.

Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Fire Road To The Summit

1.7 Miles (5796ft)- You’ll reach the the summit of Sunset Peak and see the rusted and burned remains of what used to be a lookout tower. You’ll have views of the Inland Empire to the south, and on clear days, can see out to the Pacific Ocean. Looking north, you’ll see notable peaks like Mt. Baldy, Thunder Mountain, Telegraph Peak, Sugarloaf Peak, and Ontario Peak.

Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Sunset Peak
Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
View of the San Gabriels

To return back to the parking lot, you can make your way down the ridge route (not advised) or follow the fire road the entire way.

2.2 Miles (5591ft)- Follow the fire road back down and pass the ridge route junction. At 2.2 miles, you’ll reach an unmarked three way junction on the fire road. Make a hairpin turn and head north.

Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Hairpin Turn

3.6 Miles (5142ft)- This is the final junction on the fire road and another unmarked three way option. Make a hairpin turn and head north. The turn here can be difficult to see, so make sure you’re paying attention. If you miss this turn, you’ll end up at the trailhead for west side access to Sunset Peak…and a 6 mile road walk to get back to your car.

Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
Hairpin Turn #2 Look To The Right

5.6 Miles (4548ft)- You’ll reach the end of your hike when you see the yellow gate at the entrance of the east side fire road access point. Cross the street from here to reach your car.

Hiking Sunset Peak Via The East Ridge Trail
The End

 

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