Strawberry Peak 🍓
Distance: 7 Miles
Time: 3-4 Hours in total
Difficulty: Moderate (Good hike to try for 1st timers)
Elevation: 6,165 ft
Location: Angeles National Forest
So let’s begin with my overall thoughts of Strawberry Peak. It’s a 3 – 4 mile hike that offers a ton of scenic views. The mountain hill that leads you up to the peak definitely had me stopping a few times to catch my breath. Now keep in mind, I’m currently not in my best shape, so having a couple of breathers was something I should have expected. And I’m guessing some of you will be in the same scenario if this is your first go at a hike
But nevertheless, I made it to the top and enjoyed being up there. It has everything I look for in a good hike. The views are really cool to see with a ton of photo opportunities from the surrounding landscape. Strawberry Peak is also not too far from Los Angeles, so you’ll be able to spot the Downtown skyscrapers from a distance. There are also peak signs that you’ll usually find from other peaks in our local national forests. They are a great way to celebrate a successful hike and share your experiences on social media. Just like did. I posted mine on our Instagram page, @seekingmytravels. So be sure to give me a follow and check out my content.
Strawberry Peak in general is roughly 4 miles in total distance from the trailhead to the very top of the mountain. In total, you’re looking at roughly a 8 mile day. The hike probably took me around 4 hours to complete, which is pretty short compared to other hikes I’ve done in the San Gabriel Mountains (Ontario Peak, Cucamonga Peak, etc. Just to name a few). Those peaks ran me anywhere from 7 – 8 miles in total. So definitely shouldn’t take you too long. If you happen to begin your hike around 7am, you should be back down around 3pm.
The trailhead I started was called Red Box Picnic Area, off the Angeles Crest Hwy. There is parking on the right side off the highway and does require a parking pass. You can find parking passes before you enter the highway from various vendors within the cities. You actually find a list of vendors online. I have a link at the end of the post below. I purchased my annual pass from REI and it costed me around $30. You can use this parking pass in various trailheads throughout California when you visiting National Forests.
Address: Forest Rte 2N24, Palmdale, CA 93550
Recently, the Red Box trailhead was closed due to the recent fires in the summer. However parking is now open. I advise you arrive early before parking begins to fill. Probably around 6am – 7am in my opinion. That way you’ll have enough time to find a parking spot and gather your gear before walking to the starting point.
I arrived at the trailhead around 7:30am. Parking was pretty empty. However as I came back from Strawberry Peak, parking was completely full. So I always recommend arriving early to any trailhead you go to. Especially during this Covid era because I expect that more people are trying to find ways to leave their homes and find activities to do.
Once you find parking, gathered your gear, and are ready to go, the starting point is just ahead of parking.
I don’t have much pictures for directions, nor did I planned for anything like that in general. What I did use was this app called “Alltrails” to help guide me. It’s very useful for me and I use it for every hike I do. It helps me stay on the trail and leads me to the correction direction. I’ll have more information on the app at the end of this post.
As far as distance goes, this didn’t feel like a very long hike. Those first 3 miles felt like a breeze and wasn’t too much on the legs either.
Once you arrive at mile #2, the trail is pretty much straight forward. You follow the path along a mountain that takes you to Strawberry Peak. During the walk along, you feel like you’re at the edge of the mountains. Don’t worry though, there’s plenty of room to walk. I would say these are the best views to take in, other than the peak itself.
Within the distance, you can also spot Mt. Wilson on one of the mountains. The way I was able to tell was the two white observatories. As soon as I saw that, I knew it was Mt. Wilson. More on Mt. Wilson hike in the near future.
Another great treat along the trail is ability to spot Downtown Los Angeles. The skyscrapers are visible from the angle in which you hike along the trail and you’ll be able to see the ocean as well. It becomes easier to see LA once you reach the top of the mountain. But either way, it was pretty cool sight to see and a moment to stop for some pictures.
As you approach mile #3, this is probably the difficult part of the hike. While I do say it’s a bit difficult, It’s still manageable enough for those who are justing starting. I took a friend to come along with me during this hike and she was able to hike up the steep mountain without any issues. Especially in the snow. I would imagine it’s easier to hike during the summer time than the winter time as you can get better traction on the ground with your hiking boots. But sometimes the snow can be an enemy. In a way that the terrain becomes slippery without proper footwear. I have more on that towards the end of the post below.
This is why I highly recommend wearing hiking boots, opposed to wearing tennis or running shoes. The trail on Cucamonga Peak will become very rocky at certain points of the hike. So wearing shoes that will protect your feet during a 6 mile hike will come in handy. If Cucamonga Peak is the very first hike your diving into, that’s fine, but understand that you should come prepared. Making sure you bring the necessary gear and supplies that will help make this hike worth it. I will list everything that I used below.
Either way I’m confident just about everyone can push up the mountain around mile #3.
Once you’re at mile #4, you should be at the peak. From here, enjoy the 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. You’ll find two Strawberry Peak wooden signs. Which are perfect for pictures. If this was your first hike overall, welcome to the club! If this was your first hike of this years So-Cal Six Pack of Peaks challenge, your just getting started. And if you’re still wondering where to hike within Southern California, this may be the perfect start.
I mention the So-Cal Six Packs of Peaks challenge quite often. And that’s because I use it as a way to motivate me. If you aren’t too familiar with the So-Cal Six Pack of Peaks challenge, I highly recommend that you check out their Instagram page and/or website. It’s a challenge that consists of nine peaks overall. You choose any of the nine from the list. All you have to do is complete six. After you complete your six hikes, you receive a finisher prize at the end. The purpose of this challenge is to motivate you throughout the year to stay on course and get you hiking. It helped me with my ambitions and it continues to motivate me each week to find a new hike to do.
2021 has just begun and I want to start of the year right with a lot more hikes under my belt. With so much uncertainty in today’s climate, motivating myself to stay fit and enjoy the things I love to do is going to be a priority in 2021. That’s the mindset I’m taking with my blog. And Strawberry Peak is just the first stepping stone. I haven’t hiked all that much during 2020, especially during these uncertain times. But I don’t want to use that as an excuse. So 2021 is when I get back on the trails and sharing you my experiences from each hike. And trust me, there’s a ton of them.
Parking Pass Information:
Information on where to purchase Adventure Passes
As I mentioned earlier, here is a list of all the things I brought during my hike. In case you needed any idea on what to bring for a hike like this.
I made sure I had plenty of water. The last thing you’ll ever want is to be short of water. I brought food & snacks, including my own lunch. I purchased all my food from Walmart before driving to the trailhead parking area. For snowy conditions during this hike, I didn’t use crampons. But I would probably recommend wearing a pair. The snowy terrain can be slippery so crampons can help gain traction through each step. The items below is just what I needed for my day.
- REI Co-op Ruckpack 28 Pack (REI)
- Talus Tek UltraDry Hiking Boots (REI)
I currently use “All Trails” mobile app on my phone during my all hikes for guidance. I will attach a link below. This was super helpful and is something I used to help me stay on track in case I felt lost.
Enjoyed this blog post?
Follow us on Instagram (@seekingmytravels) and subscribe to my blog for more content. Thank you!
Seeking My Travels!