Mount Lukens is within LA city limits, but, if it were in New England, it would be the region’s 9th tallest mountain. Although, when it is compared to neighboring peaks, Lukens is dwarfed by giants twice the size. This peak is just over 5,000’ and only a 15 minute drive from downtown. Easy access from Angeles Crest Highway make it a popular day trip.
What Makes It Great
If you’re in the mood to climb on a mountain bike, then the San Gabriel Mountains are the place for you. This range is famous for fires. Where there are fires, there are fire roads and Mt. Lukens is not exception. The fire road up to Lukens summit begins at 2,200’ and, after a short section of switchbacks at the bottom, takes you along the ridge to the peak. It is perhaps the most scenic fire road around since such a large portion of this ride is spent on the ridge line.
Once you are suited up, ride past the fire station, you will see the dirt begin just past the gated entrance. The first mile is full of switchbacks and the steepest section of the entire ride. After the final switchback you will see a big sweeping clearing with a bench and a view, no you’ve reached the ridgeline. Time to sit in and enjoy the views; to your north you will see Strawberry Peak a barren peak that resembles an upside-down strawberry, the east shows historic Mt. Lowe and Mt. Wilson and the south is all of LA. The next 7 miles is all ridge climbing and generally across contours. The summit is speckled with radio towers and has great views, so take it in before the long descent.
The total out-and-back is 16 miles and 3,000’ of climbing. This is great for anyone looking to exercise after work or to spend a Saturday in the mountains.
Who is Going to Love It
Anyone who enjoys long climbs or the freedom of a remote mountain ridge will love Lukens.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From CA-210, exit at Angles Crest Highway (CA-2 North) and head north into the mountains. Angeles Crest will take you up and out of the residential area and into the Angeles National Forest. After 3.1 miles you will see a fire station on the left (it’s the first and only structure after entering the forest), parking is in the lot just in front of the station. You will need an adventure pass, which can be purchased at the any sporting goods store in the area (if you don’t have one already, there is Sport Chalet just off of the freeway).