Friday, April 4, 2014

Jones Peak After Dark

Hiked: 4/3/2014
Distance: 6.1 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 3375'
Prominence: 55'
Elevation Gain: 2395'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.91
Round trip time: 3 hours 30 minutes
Recommended water: 48 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free on streets near Bailey Canyon Park
Difficulty: Moderate

This was my first planned night hike. The trip was up Bailey Canyon to Jones Peak overlooking Sierra Madre and the greater LA area. Noel and Geoff were both interested, so we set out after work for Sierra Madre. We looked for a place to park on the street since the park officially closed at sunset. We arrived about 30 minutes before sunset and headed up through the park on the trail toward Jones Peak, Mt. Wilson looming far above.

I brought my usual lighting arrangement, LED headlamp and LED flashlight. I clipped my knife to my belt in case of close critter encounters. The trail was somewhat steep, but well maintained. Trail grooming equipment was visible stashed just off the main path. Once or twice we heard rocks dislodged above us, but never saw the cause.


Bailey Canyon Park - open sunrise to sunset


Fading daylight


City lights about half way up Jones Peak

After dark, we broke out the lights and continued at a moderate pace. The trail was in very good condition and gained a fair bit of elevation, but the frequent switchbacks made it manageable. The city glowed brighter as the darkness grew. The final hundred feet was steep, opening up to a grassy summit. A scattered cairn was all that marked the summit. No register or benchmark was found. The night view of the greater LA area was the point of the hike and well worth the effort. We stopped for a break, then headed down before a chill set in from not moving. On the way back, we took the short spur to see the cabin ruins. We knew the park would be fenced in as we descended so we stayed on the road at the bottom. We found the road was also fenced in with barbed wire but were able to squeeze through the gate. Back at the front of Bailey Canyon park, we found a couple of other easy ways over the fence. With the cool air and no sun, I ended up needing only 48 oz of water. I am certain I would have needed more in the daytime, and even more on a hot day.


Nightfall


Cabin ruins


Noel on the trail


Scattered cairn on Jones Peak summit


Greater LA from Jones Peak


Silhouette


City of Angels at night



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