Distance: 1.8 miles round trip on use trail
Summit Elevation: 3948' (May), 4003' (Fernando 2)
Prominence: 328' (May), 1283' (Fernando 2)
Elevation Gain: 870' (combined)
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 0.69
Round trip time: 1 hour
Recommended water: 16 oz.
Parking/Fees: Adventure Pass
May Peak is the newest mountain added to the Sierra Club Lower Peaks, in 2015 no less. I could not avoid a rush hour start time which meant spending quality time with four million of my closest friends, a million of them driving semi trucks, on the local 6-lane freeways. The adventure part of the hike was driving past downtown LA, with Google maps diverting me off and on the freeways to shave a few minutes here and there. In morning traffic, it took nearly three hours to get to the saddle between May Peak and Fernando 2 on the Santa Clarita Truck Trail (3N17). The mostly paved Santa Clarita Truck Trail is gated, and the gate was open. A sign says the gate closes at 6 PM. I would guess it opens at dawn. On the way to the trailhead, you must drive through LA County Fire Camp #9. There were a lot of cars and trucks parked at the facility, but I didn't see anyone outside as I drove through. Just past the camp, 3N17 dips down and right at a fork. The saddle is not too far after the fork and there is a wide parking area. Because of rain the day before, most of the saddle was under a shallow pool of water.
It was a surprisingly cool 55F under low, lingering clouds from the passing storm. I started up the damp firebreak, only muddy in places, for the short hike to May. It was about a mile round trip over a use trail and some false summits. Clouds blocked the views, so I focused on getting to the summit and signing the register. The register started in 2015, yet was already half full. The newest lower peak was quite popular. I concluded my business and jogged most of the way back, passing three other hikers on the way up from the saddle.
As soon as I was down, I headed up the firebreak toward Fernando 2. Fernando sports a healthy prominence of 1283' and the top was buried in the clouds. When I got to the top, I started looking around for the benchmark, expecting it on this side of the summit based on the topo maps. It was not hard to locate and was stamped "Camp 9". I am not sure about the origin of the Fernando 2 name. Still in the clouds, there was not much to see. I wandered around past the benchmark and found several fenced buildings and a lot of equipment. This location was one of the former Nike missile sites. It is still being used for something, though the missiles are long gone.