Slide Mountain Lookout (dayhike)

Trip Date: 6/11/2016

Location: Angeles National Forest, Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers Ranger District 

Permit/Pass: None

Trail maps: NA 

Directions: From either the north or the south, take the Templin Highway exit from Interstate 5 and turn west. After just a few yards take the right (north) turn onto Golden State Highway and follow the road for a couple of miles until you reach the gated road closing. Park here, gear up, and head up the road.

Synopsis: This hike, to one of the still-active fire observation towers in the Angeles National Forest, offers a few challenges in the first few miles, but rewards the hiker's effort with amazing views from the saddle at just under 4 miles all the way to the summit. After leaving the old, paved road the trail ascends continuously, but generally not too steeply, and seems to be well maintained.

Trail sequence: Golden State Highway (paved road) / Slide Peak trail / summit / Slide Peak trail / GSH

Type: Out and back

Distance: 11 miles

Elevation: Min. - 1876', Max. - 4632'


Rating: Difficult (factors: elevation gain, length, heat, pavement)

Notes: The pavement walking at the beginning and end of this hike is fairly level, but keep in mind that on a warm day your return to the trailhead, covering the approximately one and a half miles of sun-soaking pavement, may heat up your feet.

Track: Slide Mtn. Lookout - Angeles NF: Everytrail, GaiaGPS

Turn by Turn:

  -- Pass the gate and walk up the gently ascending road for a mile and a half or so. An indicator that you are nearing the junction with the Slide Peak trail is an old road off to the right with some aged and weathered signs that offer information about fishing in the creek. The trail will be about a hundred yards up the road on the left.

  -- At the time of our hike, the trail (a fire road) was blocked to vehicle traffic by a tubular metal gate painted white, red and black. Walk around the gate and head up the trail.

  -- After another mile or so the fire road narrows to single-track trail as it continues to switchback up the east side of the range.

  -- At just over three and a half miles the trail straightens out and heads west, climbing to finally reach the ridge at just under four miles. From here one can finally see to the west and south, and can even begin to make out Lake Piru to the south.

  -- The trail now trends generally to the northwest as it climbs the close knoll before heading out onto the east side of Slide Mountain.

  -- After a few switchbacks the trail works around the southwest and west sides of the mountain, eventually climbing to a small saddle just under and to the north of the Lookout tower. From here you turn to the south and ascend the short distance through some manzanita shrubs to the summit sign, and the steps to the tower behind it.