It is best to have two cars to do this trail so you can get the full experience of these two peaks that stand watch over some of the most remote regions in the San Gabriel National Forest. Park one at the Three Points trailhead and continue east along Angeles Crest Highway until you come to Buckhorn Flat trailhead – this is where you will begin your journey.

©Isaac Tait

The starting elevation at this trailhead is 6,760′ and over the course of two miles you will climb to the top of Mount Waterman at 8,038′. There are some cool rock formations on and near the summit so bring your scrambling shoes! After you have soaked in the views and scoped out your next objective, East Twin Peak, retrace your steps back to the main trail and continue due south. Say goodbye to all the elevation you gained because you are going to lose it all. After about one and three-quarter miles you will come to an intersection and you will want to go south (towards Twin Peaks). Remember this intersection as you will take it on the way back. Two miles from the summit of Mt. Waterman you will come to Twin Peaks saddle at 6,750′. After catching your breath, follow the obvious trail which steadily becomes more and more faint until it begins to go straight uphill. There is not anything close to a switchback all the way to the summit! Thankfully, the views and the isolation at the top of East Twin Peak 7,761′ more than make up for the suffering you endured on the way up.

©Isaac Tait

 Retrace your footsteps back to the saddle and about one-fourth of a mile back up the southern flank of Mt. Waterman. This is where you will come to the previously mentioned intersection, which is at roughly 7,100′. You will want to go west towards your parked car at the Three Points trailhead. For the most part, this portion of the trail follows the contours for about two miles before beginning your descent back to the car at 5,900′. During the spring this region of the backcountry is filled with many botanical splendors. Early in the spring the hillsides will be painted in Wild Canterbury Bells, Withered Snapdragon, Tree Poppies, Torrey Straw, Mariposa Tulips and Snow Plants (just to name a few).  To  top it off this area is studded with stunning geological formations, huge boulders perched on ridge-lines some as tall as 60 feet! If you are really lucky, you might even spot a mountain goat or two! This trail will provide much wonder and adventure and less than one hour from the sprawl of LA basin.


Season: Year round (might be handy to bring skis or snowshoes in the winter)

Difficulty: Hard

Variety: One-way Shuttle

Open to: Hikers & dogs

Maps: Mt. Waterman

Passes and Permits Required: Adventure Pass

Facilities at Trailhead: privy

©Isaac Tait

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