Need advice: What time to start to camp at Summit?

Home Forums Trail Conditions Need advice: What time to start to camp at Summit?

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    • #1656
      Scott W
      Participant

      I have a permit to camp at Summit on July 22.  My goal is to arrive about 6:30pm, which should give me plenty time to set up camp, etc. before it gets dark.  I don’t want to arrive several hours early and have nothing to do.

      What’s a good time to start at the trail head?

      For reference, I’m a moderate hiker, 50 years old.  So far, I’ve done these significant hikes:

      Mt. Baldy 3 times (all while camping at the summit)

      Mt. Wilson (day hike, 16.2 miles total)

      Whitney Portal to Trail Camp (overnight) and back.  My son got altitude sickness otherwise I would have headed up to summit.

      Suggestions are appreciated.

    • #1659
      brichardsson
      Participant

      just leave and get up there early, and take a book. the lower trail can be very hot in the summer. middle/end of july i would much rather be on the summit in the afternoon than at 7,000′.

    • #1660
      Ranger Steve
      Participant

      I would leave very early, day-break or even earlier. That way you can take your time, enjoy the hike and the scenery, stop to eat etc. Plus you are more likely to get parking near the trail-head and you will avoid the heat of the lower elevations.

    • #1661
      Scott W
      Participant

      The above replies are respected and appreciated, but back to the original question…

      What time should I park my car to arrive at the Summit by about 6:30pm?

    • #1662
      wanderluster
      Participant

      Take the advice above and start early in the morning and don’t rush up.  It allows you to get up high before the heat starts cooking Forest Falls (90F isn’t uncommon), and you’ll be able to find a parking spot closer to the trailhead than somewhere in Mentone.  Take it slow so you can enjoy the scenery, take extended breaks at all the water sources (‘ultra-hydrate’), and if you do get to the summit in the afternoon you can enjoy the view and relax/nap.

      Also, it depends on your conditioning.  From parking lot to the summit I’ve day hiked it in as little as three hours, but if overnighting at the summit I’ve taken as long as a leisurely 8 hours.

    • #1663
      shawnsisler
      Participant

      Everybody on this post has given very good advice which should be taken into consideration for what time you should start your hike.

      Here are the facts:

      San Gorgonio peak is 11,502ft with trail distance of 9.3 miles and 5422ft elevation gain from Vivian Creek trailhead.

      Mt Baldy peak is 10,068ft with trail distance of 4.5 miles and 3900ft elevation gain from San Antonio Falls trailhead.

      So you can see San Gorgonio trail is twice as long and 1522ft more elevation gained then the Mt Baldy trail which means it could take double the time more or less depending on your stamina, parking, weather, trail conditions, water breaks, etc…

    • #1673
      Scott W
      Participant

      Thanks all for your advice.  I will probably start out around 800am or so.

    • #1796
      Scott W
      Participant

      Just got back from my hike, and it was about what I expected.  Left the parking lot at 900am, and headed up to summit at a leisurely pace arriving 545pm.   Temps at summit were low 50s and winds were 5-10mph.  Departed 700am today and got back to my car about 1230pm.  All in all, a great experience.

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