Hiking Mt. Baden-Powell (San Gabriel Mountains)

Nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California, Mt. Baden-Powell offers outdoor enthusiasts a breathtaking adventure. Named after the founder of the Boy Scouts of America, Lord Baden-Powell, this towering peak promises not only a challenging hike but also unparalleled views and a deep connection with nature. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the essentials of hiking Mt. Baden-Powell, from the trailhead to the summit, and provide you with insights into the history, natural beauty, and tips for a successful hike.

Directions to Trailhead: To get to the trailhead for the hike to the top of Mt. Baden-Powell, coming from Orange County, get on the I-15 heading north. Take the 15 freeway to the Cajon Pass and exit left onto the 138 highway. Take the 138 toward Palmdale. In about 14 miles you need to make a left onto the Angeles Crest highway (2). The trailhead is on the left-hand side in 14 miles. A map of the area can be found Here and we have also provided a Google map below.

Description of Hike
: To reach the summit of Mt. Baden-Powell, you'll follow the Vincent Gulch Divide Trail, which is approximately 8 miles round trip. This well-marked trail boasts a variety of terrains, from shaded forest groves to exposed switchbacks, offering a challenging yet rewarding experience. Make sure you're well-prepared for this demanding journey by packing essential gear like sturdy hiking boots, plenty of water, and energy-rich snacks. This is a well-traveled trail and you will most likely see a lot of people hiking to the summit of Mt. Baden-Powell when you go. The trail is usually in good shape and is clearly marked. Ashley and I also visited Lamel Springs on the hike to Mt. Baden-Powell, which adds a little extra distance but not much since the spring is not too far from the main trail to the summit of Baden-Powell. The spring is used as a place to filter water when hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. During the 4-mile hike to the summit, there is a 2,800-foot elevation gain, so there is quite a bit of elevation gain. The views are absolutely spectacular for the entire hike and this is a must-do for any hiking enthusiast. As always a Forest Adventure Pass is required to park at the trailhead since this hike is located in the Angeles National Forest. The hike will take about 5 hours to complete.

Further Thoughts: This hike was the first big hike of the summer season for Ashley and me and was the first of our several training hikes for Mt. San Gorgonio. The drive on the Angeles Crest Highway to the Vincent Gap trailhead is amazing. The views are absolutely stunning. Make sure to take your time and enjoy this drive as you get great views of Mt. Baldy, Mt. Baden-Powell, and the expansive wilderness between them.  Mt. Baden-Powell is renowned for its stunning scenery. As you ascend, you'll encounter lush alpine forests, wildflowers in full bloom during the spring, and, if you're lucky, some wildlife sightings. The panoramic views from the summit are awe-inspiring, offering sights of the Mojave Desert, the San Gabriel Valley, and even the Channel Islands on a clear day. Don't forget your camera to capture these priceless moments.

We chose a good day to go on this hike as the temperature was great and the weather was nice since there was no chance of any summer desert thunderstorms. During the summer months, be on the lookout for dessert thunderstorms that occasionally hit the backside of the Angeles National Forest. The best season to do this hike is the late spring, summer, and early fall as during the wintertime this peak becomes snow-covered. Only experienced and properly equipped hikers should attempt the climb to the summit of Mt. Baden-Powell when there is snow present.

At a point during the hike, you can begin to see the Devil's Punchbowl which Ashley and I hiked the previous year. The Devil's Punchbowl is where the San Andreas Fault and the Punchbowl Fault come together and create amazing geological formations. It was very neat to see how small the Devil's Punchbowl looked from up high on the mountain. There is a small exposed ridge line just before the last push to the summit of Mt. Baden-Powell. The view at the ridge line heading towards the summit is absolutely spectacular. You have a great unobstructed view of Mt. Baldy and can see into the huge canyon separating Mt. Baden-Powell from the Badly Complex. You can also see the Southern Sierras, as well as miles of the Angeles National Forest, and endless miles of our California Desert areas. This is a great place to take pictures.

On top of the Summit of Mt. Baden-Powell, at 9,399 ft., there is a monument the Boy Scouts built which is well worth a read. Ashley and I enjoyed our packed lunch at the top of this peak in the San Gabriel Mountains. It is a great place to enjoy lunch and soak in the reward of making it to the summit. The views from the top of Mt Baden-Powell were absolutely amazing. The entire hike took about 5 hours to do. We definitely recommend this hike to other Southern California hikers, just remember to take your time on the switchbacks and do not underestimate the altitude, as the trail is a steady uphill climb the whole way.

Further Education & Hiking Tools
For those looking for more reading on hikes or landmarks in the area, Amazon has several books that you can purchase (and yes, we do earn a small commission from any sale, but that is what funds this website so we appreciate any purchase using our links) Check out the following maps and books Angeles National Forest MapBaden-PowellBaden-Powell: Chief Scout of the World, or if you need a new insect repellant to use on your hikes that works well check out Sawyer Products SP564 Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin, Lotion or if you need bear spray to carry when hiking here you might want to check out SABRE Frontiersman 9.2 oz. Bear Spray, Maximum Strength 2.0% Major Capsaicinoids, Powerful 35 ft. Range Bear Deterrent or a new hiking headlamp LHKNL Headlamp Flashlight.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 2,800 ft. (Moderate - Strenuous), Distance: 8 Miles Roundtrip (Moderate).

Time to Complete Hike: 4 - 5 hours.

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  1. I recently found your site via a Google search. Great write ups and thanks for sharing your experiences. Baden Powell is also one of my favorite hikes. The views are amazing on clear days. Hiking the summit in the fog is also fun!


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