Friday, August 22, 2014

Silver Mountain, Peak 3430, Peak 3742, Pine Mountain #3

Hiked: 8/22/2014
Distance: 12.6 miles round trip on use trail and dirt road
Summit Elevation: 3388' (Silver), 3430' (Peak 3430), 3742' (Peak 3742), 4542' (Pine)
Prominence: 305' (Silver), 310' (Peak 3430), 419' (Pine)
Elevation Gain: 4100' (combined)
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 3.28
Round trip time: 7 hours
Recommended water: 164 oz.
Parking/Fees: Adventure Pass
Difficulty: Strenuous

Two more peaks from the Great Lower Peaks list were in my sights today, both north of Azusa. I parked in a turnout on highway 39 across from the Morris Reservoir and headed up past the locked gate of Silver Fish Road. Right away, you need to make a choice between two ridgelines. The use trail to the left goes up a more southerly ridgeline past a water tower. If you continue following Silver Fish Road, you can ascend the next ridgeline north, which is a little more direct and probably easier. Sometimes I choose the more difficult path, but not today with temps expected to hit 90F.

Silver Fish Road quickly degenerates to a single track trail. In less than a mile, I left the road and followed a moderately steep use trail, crossing Silver Fish Road again before hitting it higher up and turning north toward Silver Mountain. The road was overgrown with grass and other small plants from knee to waist high, but not to the point where it obscured the trail. I could see Silver Mountain clearly and the firebreak heading up. Silver Mountain summit had a small cairn, but no benchmark or register I could find. It was just a round grassy spot and after a quick photo, I continued.

Starting a little before sunrise

Morris Reservoir

Silver Mountain ahead

Silver Mountain sad summit cairn

Silver Mountain summit

From Silver Mountain, the path to Pine Mountain #3 was clear, following an undulating ridge and firebreak. Between Silver and Peak 3430, directly along the path, the trail got more congested. Thicker grasses crept into the mix, some with fox tails, along with some kind of Little Shop of Horrors thing with spike balls. They were hard to avoid if you tried to stick to a cadence. I got jabbed a few times despite long pants and ankle gaiters (a huge help). Past Peak 3430, the firebreak cleared out a lot and the going got easier. There was a final steep section up to Rincon Road, then I took a left turn and followed it around to the Pine Mountain peak. It looked like there was a way directly up the ridgeline to Pine, but I needed a break from firebreaks. The only shade of the day was found along the road in the shadow of Pine Mountain. On the north side, I finally saw some pine trees, having seen none on the south side. The Pine Mountain summit is adorned with communication towers, but there is a summit register at the high point outside a fence. I signed it and recognized Sean Green and crew had visited a few months ago. The most recent previous entry was from early May, and only a handful of pages had been filled. Pine doesn't seem to be very popular, and is no pushover if you arrive by coming over Silver. Views all around were great on a very nice day. After recharging with some calories, I headed back, adding some gain on the return.

Peak 3430 dead ahead, Pine Mountain #3 the distant high point

Nasty plant with spike balls

Looking back from Rincon Road to Peak 3742, Peak 3430, and Silver Mountain

Pines on the north side of Pine Mountain

Pine Mountain #3 summit

Twin Peaks and Triplet Rocks from Pine

Pine Mountain #3 summit register


  1. Thanks for the good write-up! Nice pics! Been looking at that peak (Pine) for years. Getting inspired to conquer it. Maybe early spring to avoid the nasty prickly stuff.

    1. Hiker Dan,

      Pine is great hike. A little ways to the north are Little Mermaids Canyon and Big Mermaids Canyon, probably the most unexplored part of the San Gabriel Wilderness. Nice views of the back country. Have fun!