Throop Peak, Mt. Burnham & Mt. Baden Powell via Vincent Saddle: Angeles National Forest

Most people who climb Mt. Baden Powell will start from the Vincent Gap style, we decided to go a different route and allow summits to a couple more peaks in the area.  We didn’t decide to do Baden Powell until we got to Mt. Burnham, but that’s the beauty of having a map with you, you can decide to turn around or keep going.  Always check before you get out there.

Location Mileage Elevation Gain Type
Angeles National Forest
9.5 miles
2,650 feet
Out-and-back

— What to Expect in this Guide —

  1. Map of HikeMap of what our hike looked like.
  2. DirectionsMake sure the road is opened, different times of year they close the road either due to road work or winter weather.
  3. Weather – Weather changes often, make sure you check before you go.
  4. Permits and PassesNo overnight wilderness permit is required, but an Angeles National Forest Adventure Pass is.  Read more on how to get one below.
  5. Hike Stats – Quick overview of the mileage and elevation for points of interest on the hike.
  6. Maps, Books and Gear RecommendationsI like to put together some important items or even just some gear ideas for your adventure, check them out in this section.
  7. Description This is my favorite part because I can share my adventure and photos with you.



— Background —

The 3 of these peaks are around 9,000 feet elevation, which is perfect training before attempting higher elevation hikes.  Here’s some history on the naming’s of each of the peaks.

  1. The first of the 3 peaks is named Throop Peak (9,142 feet), named after Amos G. Throop founder of Throop University in 1891, also known as Caltech now.
  2. The second peak is Mount Burnham (9,001 feet), originally named West Twin or North Baldy Mountain, it was renamed in 1951 after Frederick Russell Burnham a military scout who taught woodcraft to Robert Baden-Powell who was a big inspiration for the founding of Boy Scouts.
  3. The 3rd peak we hit was originally named East Twin or North Baldy and was renamed to Mount Baden-Powell (9,407 feet) in 1931 after the founder of the Scouting Movement, Robert Baden-Powell.

— Map of Hike —


— Directions —

Dawson Saddle Trailhead
To get to the trail from Wrightwood, take Hwy 2 off of CA-138 W.  Once you get on Hwy 2, take it all the way to Dawson Saddle.  There are two trailheads that end up leading to the same place.  Something to note is that there is no sign posted to mark the trail, but it is easy to see both trails off the highway.


— Weather —

The weather can change at any time in the mountains, due to this fact be sure to prepare. This area is known to get very hot in the summertime; hike early to minimize impact of any heat illness. In contrast this area can also get very cold and windy with even snow on it, prepare for anything!
Mt. Baldy – Elevation 10,066 feet


— Permits and Passes —

— Wilderness Permit —
You are not required to have a wilderness permit for a day hike neither an overnight hike.

— National Forest Adventure Pass —
The trailhead lies within the Angeles National Forest in which you are required to obtain an Adventure pass.  Find the closest Forest Service location or go to a major sporting goods store.  The fees are either daily ($5 per day) or annual ($30).  If you’d like to know more about the pass, read on the USDA Forest Service Recreation Passes & Permits Website.


— Hike Stats —

Point of Interest Mileage Elevation
Trailhead: Dawson Saddle Trail 0 miles 7,901 feet
PCT junction 1.8 miles 8,850 feet
Throop Peak 2.0 miles 9,138 feet
Mt. Burnham 4.1 miles 8,997 feet
Mt. Baden-Powell 4.75 miles 9,399 feet

— Maps, Books & Gear Recommendations —


— Maps —
  1. Tom Harrison Angeles High Country Trail Map – My favorite type of maps are the Tom Harrison Maps. This is the perfect one for this hike.
  2. HIKE Southern California: A Day Hiker’s Guide – My mom got me this tiny little book.  I’ve took it out a few times before I head out into the local mountains and it has given me some good ideas for hikes.

— Some Gear Recommendations —

  1. Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles – I definitely recommend trekking poles for this hike it will save your knees.
  2. Garmin Fenix 5s Plus – I use this every hike now.  It doesn’t have a satellite communicator, but the maps and it’s functionalities are perfect for hiking.
  3. Osprey Hydraulics Reservoir – I recommend taking a lot of water and this reservoir fits 3 liters. Check it out.
  4. PROBAR Bolt Energy Chews – Feel like you’re getting tired, take some of these for some quick energy; they are my favorite energy chews out there.

Check out some of the other items I have in my backpack on hiking and backpacking trips on my What’s in My Backpack Page. I also have some trail food ideas – check those out on Trail Food: Grub Ideas for the Trail


— Description —

Before I get into the trip, if you’d like to take a gander at the YouTube video I made of the hike check it out below or on my YouTube.

I have wanted to this hike so many times, but every time we went we had to figure out another hike to do because the road was closed.  Always check the road closures before heading up;  this time we were lucky enough for an open road to Vincent Saddle.  We reached the small parking area at Vincent Saddle around 8:00am and there was only one other car parked there.  There are two trails that connect shortly after starting the hike.

Before we set out of the hike, the plan was to summit Throop Peak and Mt. Burnham then turn around.  I didn’t realize until later that it would make for a short hike.  On our way up to Throop Peak we were covered by the trees and the beautiful sun’s rays gleamed through the trees as we climbed to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) junction.  After almost 2 miles we hit the junction and emerged from the shade.

summiting Throop Peak and Mt. Burnham

To the right there is a small use trail that goes up to Throop Peak another .2 miles.  We topped Throop and decided to take a short break and have our hard boiled eggs.  One of my favorite breakfasts when I am hiking is boiled eggs on the first day of a backpacking trip or a day hike.  After the short break we scattered down back to the PCT and Dawson Saddle Trail junction.  We continued northeast toward Mt. Burnham; on the way to Burnham there is a decrease in elevation to about 8,000 feet.

Mt. Burnham was only a mile away from Throop Peak, proved to be a great training summit, but not enough for us to turn around.  Atop Burnham we made the decision to summit one more peak.  Mt. Baden-Powell was in the distance which would make for approximately a 9.5 mile hike.  There were two options, summit Mt. Baden-Powell and come back the way we hiked or drop down to Vincent Gap and try to hitchhike back to car.  We figured we’d weigh in our options after summiting Baden-Powell.

summiting Mt. Baden-Powell

I’ve been up to Baden-Powell two times already, but always from Vincent Gap.  Honestly this was a much easier hill to summit as we were already at higher elevation than the Vincent Gap way.  From Burnham to Baden-Powell there is 360 degree views of the mountains and valleys around; much of the trail sits on the ridge between the two peaks.  If I remember correctly we had only seen 3 people before leaving Mt. Burnham and when we reached the summit of Mt. Baden-Powell there were at least 50 people.

We ate our To-Go Wraps here and decided to head back to the cars.  On the way back we went the same way except stayed on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) to bypass the summiting of the peaks.  Although, I must say it felt much longer that summiting again; but was cool so see a new part of the mountain.

We reached the car just before 1:00pm; this is one of the reasons I like going earlier as now we have the rest of the day to clean up at relax at home.  The hike was challenging and my knee didn’t act up, guess all that gym work has been finally paying off.

Thanks for listening, hope you guys enjoyed the write-up and let me know if you have any questions about hiking or backpacking this trail.

Happy Adventures,

AnnetteBeyond Limits on Foot


— Follow @beyondlimitsonfoot on Instagram —

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4 Comments on “Throop Peak, Mt. Burnham & Mt. Baden Powell via Vincent Saddle: Angeles National Forest

  1. Don’t you have lovely vegetation near the tops of your mountains? We just have either bare rock (usually loose) or dead-looking grass!
    Carol.

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