New Year’s Resolution: Don’t sweat the small stuff—sweat the big stuff. It’s a tall order to hike 3.3 miles (one-way) up a series of steady switchbacks to the 3,375-foot summit of Jones Peak, but this trek rewards with views that get better the higher you go, with the best saved for last.
Beginning at Bailey Canyon Park in Sierra Madre, the trail enters a canyon with steep walls shadowed by Hasting Peak and Jones Peak. Bailey Canyon Trail pushes up the east side to a bench overlooking the valley below and toward the skyline of downtown Los Angeles. Follow the chaparral-covered ridgeline up to MacCloud Saddle as fingerlike foothills rise to the east.
Reenter Bailey Canyon and pass an old stone foundation before climbing steady switchbacks to Jones Peak, where lofty, unobstructed views over the cities below await. To the north is a striking perspective of Mount Wilson, capped by white observatory domes as the shadowy silhouettes. To the east, the San Gabriel Mountains complete the panorama.
Get a morning start. Begin from Bailey Canyon Park, 451 W. Carter Ave. in Sierra Madre (map), and follow Bailey Canyon Trail north into Bailey Canyon. Stick with Bailey Canyon Trail through marked junctions with two nature trails, and climb 3.3 miles to a saddle north of Jones Peak. You will pass short spur trails to the bench and the old foundation at 0.7 mile and 2.25 miles respectively. Turn right at the saddle up the short path to the summit. Dog-friendly!