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Lone Tree Trail - California, United States

by swgreen1974  
with a Garmin eTrex Legend HCx
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From behind Rubio Canyon reservoir (1760') in Altadena, the unsigned Lone Tree Trail heads steeply up a ridge to the SCE electrical towers (0.5 miles, 2440'). On a clear day Catalina Island is visible from this vantage point.

The trail continues between the towers and up the ridge to an unmarked, easily overlooked mine trail (1.1 miles, 3240'). This short side-trip leads to Summit Mine, part of an old gold mining operation in the 1890s. The turnoff for this mine is a short distance above a class 2 rock-scrambling section.

Beyond the mine junction, the Lone Tree Trail leaves the ridge and contours northward, around the west flank of West Fuji. It crosses a small gully with two big cone spruce trees. Further up it then bends eastward. At this turn is an overlook immediately to the left, where views of Rubio Canyon's east fork open up. For the clearest view drop down-ridge a few yards and push through some brush on the right to a second vista point.

Further along on the Lone Tree, through some increasing canopy, stands a tranquil grove of canyon oaks, where there is a nice, shady spot for a lunch break.

Directly above this grove is the West Fuji plateau (1.7 miles), home to some big rocks, small butterflies, and stunning views of Henninger Flats, Eaton Canyon, and Mt. Harvard. Follow the plateau southward 0.1 miles and find the register book for West Fuji (3681'). Here you have more wonderful views, including cities of the San Gabriel Valley below, downtown Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, Mt. Wilson, Echo Mountain, Pine Canyon, and Mt. Fuji (east) above Henninger Flats.

Backtrack from West Fuji and continue up the open ridge on an old firebreak with sandy slopes and minor rock scrambling, but very little brush to avoid. At a particularly steep section, it is possible to follow two or three switchbacks on part of an old, overgrown roadbed now covered in rocks. But mostly the route above West Fuji sticks to the ridgetop all the way to Panorama Point (2.4 miles, 4550').

At Panorama continue up the ridge a short distance to Muir Peak (2.5 miles, 4688'); or take the fire road to Inspiration Point (3.5 miles, 4510') and pick your return route.


The Lone Tree Trail is an historic route originally started in 1888 by the Rubio Canyon Land and Water Association and later improved for the Mt. Lowe scenic attraction. It was abandoned for decades, but has recently been restored. Most of the path follows a steep ridge with very little midday shade, except where it passes under a delightful oak grove. Water is not available.

Visitors are rewarded with spectacular panoramas, different trailside landscapes, and a serene escape from busier local trails.

As of May 2013, the trail is in good condition with some very light brush overhanging parts of the pathway. Watch for the occasional tick, especially below the electrical towers. Between the towers and West Fuji there is some easy route-finding and a bit of class 2 rock-scrambling. Immediately after the East Fork overlook, resilient poison oak (cleared May 2013) might be creeping onto the trail for a short stretch. Beyond West Fuji the old firebreak receives no maintenance and could be classified as moderately steep cross-country on sometimes faint, rock-covered use trails.

Venturing beyond West Fuji is not recommended for novice or casual hikers. Average grade is 20-25%. Carry plenty of water. If hiking during summer, a predawn or very early morning start is recommended.

Lone Tree Trail, altadena, california, San Gabriel Mountains, angeles national forest, historic, Panorama Point, Ridge Route, Camp Huntington, Rubio Canyon, creek, stream
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Trip Info
November 24, 2012
Trip Location: Altadena, California, United States
Length: 2.8 miles
Duration: 4 hours
Activity: Hiking
Trip viewed 4,467 times
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