Feeling Better on Vetter Mountain

I’ve been sick with the flu for the past couple weeks. Last Sunday I finally felt good enough to exercise and was joined on a short hike of the Silver Moccasin Trail to Vetter Mountain with my friends Etienne, Camila, and Chloe. Although I was still coughing up mucus (aka lung cookies), it felt fantastic to be in the forest again. Barring any other setbacks, I think I’ll be able to work in two hikes a week for the foreseeable future.

View from Vetter Mountain

View from Vetter Mountain

Whenever I look out and can’t see any peaks from my house because the clouds are too low, there’s a great chance that I can go above the clouds by getting myself up to 4,000 or 5,000 feet. It’s an experience I can’t seem to get enough of and looking down on the clouds made my hike even better. There’s something about deciding to be in different weather by simply going into the mountains that appeals to me–especially on days when I can see the difference. Although I was already tired by the time I made it to Vetter Mountain, I felt so much better physically and mentally than I have in weeks that it was very uplifting to be there (especially with such great friends). Vetter Mountain is a fire lookout (that burned in the Station Fire) and a high point with an expansive 360 degree view towards taller mountains that surround it off in the distance (an unusual view in the San Gabriel Mountains).

View toward the Mt. Wilson Crest including Occidental Peak, Mt. Markham, San Gabriel Peak, Mt. Disappointment, and Mt. Deception from the Silver Moccasin Trail.

View toward the Mt. Wilson Crest including Occidental Peak, Mt. Markham, San Gabriel Peak, Mt. Disappointment, and Mt. Deception from the Silver Moccasin Trail.

From the summit and along the Silver Moccasin Trail, there are views of so many of the peaks I plan to hike (from Mt. Wilson to Mt. Baldy) this year that I began planning out my training to get ready to hike the High Sierra Trail in July. In addition to distance and gain, a key consideration is season. For example, the stretch of the Silver Moccasin trail I was hiking was extensively burned by the Station Fire and has no shade making it a hike for cool days only. I found myself hoping that we would get some snow. This has been another very dry winter so far in Southern California. With that in mind, it was nice to see some water flowing in Tujunga Creek.

Tujunga Creek crossing along the Silver Moccasin Trail.

Tujunga Creek crossing along the Silver Moccasin Trail.

 

Vetter Mountain

Vetter Mountain is a fire lookout offering excellent views in all directions.  The lookout is the high point within a relatively hilly area looking over smaller hills and valleys over a long distance.  However, it is also lower than most peaks seen further off into the distance. So, the views are simultaneously both expansive and enclosed.  The only exception is that on a clear day, the ocean can be seen through a low point in the range east of Mt. Wilson. There is a picnic area on Vetter Mountain as well as several picnic areas along the way leading to it. 

View from Vetter Mountain

The shortest route to Vetter Mountain is to take the hike up the road up from the parking area at Charlton Flats.

Road leading up from Charlton Flats parking area.

Another option is to take the Silver Moccasin Trail down to Big Tujunga Creek and up to its junction at Charlton Flats and then proceed to Vetter Mountain.

Silver Moccasin Trail close to junction at Charlton Flats

A car shuttle option would cover all the above mentioned territory but with less miles than completing a round trip using the Silver Moccasin Trail.

View from un-paved road close to Vetter Mountain