29 August 2011

Hiking Thunder Mountain

There's a hiking trail in the Angeles National Forest (San Gabriel Mountain range) that's known simply as the 3 T's — the names of three prominent peaks along this walk begin with the letter T: Telegraph Peak (8,303 feet/2530 meters), Thunder Mountain (8,587 feet/2617 meters) and Timber Mountain (8,985 feet/2739 meters).

Riding the ski lifts up to the Baldy Notch.
It's possible — and indeed popular — to bag the 3 T's in a single day. Access is via the Icehouse Canyon Trail (east of the 3 T's), or from the Mt. Baldy Notch, just north of the three peaks.

Whichever way you go, you should prepare for a mildly strenuous walk and sweeping views of the steep canyons and peaks of the Cucamonga Wilderness on one side, the expansive desert floor on the other.

On this particular day a 5-year old was accompanying us, so to make the walk more enjoyable for all, we took the ski lifts from the ski lift parking lot up to the Mt. Baldy Notch and walked the mile and a half to the top of Thunder Mountain. (Tip: reserve your round-trip lift ticket on-line and save $5. Kids 5 and under are free.)

Here are a few of the photos from our afternoon.



Trail marker at the Notch - left to the Mt. Baldy summit, right for the 3 T's.



Clouds roiling up from the desert.



The top of Mt. San Antonio (Mt. Baldy), the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountain range (10, 064 feet/3068 meters)



A stout Jeffrey Pine arches over the trail leading to Thunder Mountain.



Fun cloud formations in the north.



The Baldy ski area has some interesting names for their downhill runs.



Looking into the desert from the top of Thunder Mountain.



The back of Thunder Mountain and desert in the afternoon sunlight.

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