Acorn Trail, PCT, Wright Mountain, 9.1 miles RT, 8,505', (2,227' +/-), September 3, 2017

This Sunday we left the unbearable heatwave looming over Los Angeles and headed to the higher altitude of the mountains in Wrightwood to hike the Acorn Trail and summit Wright Mountain. The Acorn Trail is a 2.1 mile trek with a 1,500’ elevation gain that leads to the junction of the PCT.  It starts off on private property at the end of Acorn Drive in Wrightwood, so you’ll need to park your car before the private property sign (there’s a turn out just before the sign that fits two cars) and hike about 3/4 miles up the steep Acorn Drive.  It’s a nice way to warm up those muscles and prep for the steady climb you’re about to take on.  Once you get to the proper trail, it climbs steeply through a shaded forest of oak and pine.  Some spots of the trail can be a bit precipitous, but no worries.  Take your time and keep on trekking.  At 2.1 miles you’ll reach a junction with the PCT.  Turn left (head east) and follow it, but keep you eyes peeled for the use trail leading up to the summit of Wright Mountain.  We missed this trail the first time because my original directions told me to hop on the Blue Ridge Truck Trail which parallels the PCT.  The truck trail does not lead to the summit, but it still has some outstanding views of Pine Mountain, Mount San Antonio and the Sheep Mountain Wilderness.  After we’d been walking for awhile with no indication that we’d be going up anytime soon, I pulled out the handy Tom Harrison map.  It showed that the truck trail would soon end, and at that point we could just hop back on the PCT and head back west to where we came from.  We were in no hurry, so we enjoyed the views and extra mileage.  On the way back, we found our destination.  Sure enough there was a use trail splitting off and leading to the summit of Wright Mountain.  This ‘trail’ (if you could call it that) is not maintained.  We had to bushwhack our way up through overgrown chaparral to get to the top which was actually a lot of fun.  This is definitely not a trail to do in shorts!  Just after we reached the top, the wind started kicking up and storm clouds started rolling in.  We took in our views and began our descent.  A light sprinkle began to fall and the forest became peaceful and still with only the sound and fragrance of fresh summer rain.  We could not have timed it any better...  Just as we got back to the car, the sky opened up and it poured!  There's nothing quite as refreshing as a good mountain rain!  It was a lovely day and as per our usual routine, we rewarded ourselves with a hearty lunch at the Grizzly Cafe in Wrightwood.
 

Begin the trek by hiking up the steep Acorn Drive for about 3/4 miles.  Do not park past the sign.  This is private property.  There is a turn out just before the sign on the right hand side of the road that fits two cars.  Display your adventure pass and be on your way while being respectful of the residents.

Begin the trek by hiking up the steep Acorn Drive for about 3/4 miles.  Do not park past the sign.  This is private property.  There is a turn out just before the sign on the right hand side of the road that fits two cars.  Display your adventure pass and be on your way while being respectful of the residents.

Entrance leading to the trailhead.

Entrance leading to the trailhead.

There's a marked sign here leading to the trailhead.  You'll also pass a water tower along the way.

There's a marked sign here leading to the trailhead.  You'll also pass a water tower along the way.

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This is the marker at the start of the Acorn Trail.  Head to the left.

This is the marker at the start of the Acorn Trail.  Head to the left.

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The trail starts off in a forest of pine and oak.

The trail starts off in a forest of pine and oak.

You'll start climbing steadily from this point on.

You'll start climbing steadily from this point on.

Taking a moment to stop and watch the sunrise up through the trees.

Taking a moment to stop and watch the sunrise up through the trees.

The scent of pine is overwhelmingly pleasant.

The scent of pine is overwhelmingly pleasant.

Beautiful oak and pine on the lower part of the Acorn Trail.

Beautiful oak and pine on the lower part of the Acorn Trail.

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Some of the trail gets pretty steep with precipitous drop offs.  

Some of the trail gets pretty steep with precipitous drop offs.  

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The slope is north-faced so we were blessed with shade the whole journey.

The slope is north-faced so we were blessed with shade the whole journey.

Cloudy skies made for dramatic photos. 

Cloudy skies made for dramatic photos. 

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As you get closer to the junction with the PCT, the trail levels off a bit.

As you get closer to the junction with the PCT, the trail levels off a bit.

Almost to the top.

Almost to the top.

Looking back the way we came, there's a bench and a sign marking the Pacific Crest Trail.  We headed east to find the trail to the summit of Wright Mountain.  

Looking back the way we came, there's a bench and a sign marking the Pacific Crest Trail.  We headed east to find the trail to the summit of Wright Mountain.  

Just below the PCT, is the Blue Ridge Truck trail.  I took a few photos of Pine Mountain from here.  

Just below the PCT, is the Blue Ridge Truck trail.  I took a few photos of Pine Mountain from here.  

The Blue Ridge Truck Trail parallels the PCT and wraps around Wright Mountain.

The Blue Ridge Truck Trail parallels the PCT and wraps around Wright Mountain.

Walking along the PCT, a very pleasant stretch of trail.

Walking along the PCT, a very pleasant stretch of trail.

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At about 1/4 mile, the PCT will intersect with the Blue Ridge Truck Trail.  We hopped on the truck trail and according to my directions, we thought it would lead us to the summit.  

At about 1/4 mile, the PCT will intersect with the Blue Ridge Truck Trail.  We hopped on the truck trail and according to my directions, we thought it would lead us to the summit.  

The steep escarpment of Wright Mountain makes quite the spectacle.

The steep escarpment of Wright Mountain makes quite the spectacle.

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Pine Mountain.

Pine Mountain.

Mount San Antonio and the Sheep Mountain Wilderness.

Mount San Antonio and the Sheep Mountain Wilderness.

This is the trail marker at the border of the Sheep Mountain Wilderness. This trail leads to the North Backbone. You can journey to Pine Mountain, Dawson Peak and Mount San Antonio from this trail.

This is the trail marker at the border of the Sheep Mountain Wilderness. This trail leads to the North Backbone. You can journey to Pine Mountain, Dawson Peak and Mount San Antonio from this trail.

It seemed like we had been hiking for quite a while and there was no indication that we would be going up to a summit any time soon.  At this point I pulled out the good o'le Tom Harrison map.  We were in no hurry today, so we decided to continue on the truck trail until it would end and meet up with the PCT where at that point we could follow the PCT back to where we came and hopefully find the trail to the summit.

It seemed like we had been hiking for quite a while and there was no indication that we would be going up to a summit any time soon.  At this point I pulled out the good o'le Tom Harrison map.  We were in no hurry today, so we decided to continue on the truck trail until it would end and meet up with the PCT where at that point we could follow the PCT back to where we came and hopefully find the trail to the summit.

Enjoying the views of Mount San Antonio along the PCT.

Enjoying the views of Mount San Antonio along the PCT.

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Finally, we found the split for the use trail to the summit of Wright Mountain..  This is the view looking back at it from the east.

Finally, we found the split for the use trail to the summit of Wright Mountain..  This is the view looking back at it from the east.

The trail is severely overgrown.  You'll have to bushwhack your way through it.

The trail is severely overgrown.  You'll have to bushwhack your way through it.

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A view from the top of the daunting slope on the north side of Wright Mountain.  About 5' in front of me is the drop straight down.

A view from the top of the daunting slope on the north side of Wright Mountain.  About 5' in front of me is the drop straight down.

Storm clouds were starting to roll in.  Time to head back down.  

Storm clouds were starting to roll in.  Time to head back down.  

Pine Mountain now surrounded by storm clouds.

Pine Mountain now surrounded by storm clouds.

It started to sprinkle a little as we were almost back down the Acorn Trail.

It started to sprinkle a little as we were almost back down the Acorn Trail.

Beautiful black oak.  I would love to see these in the Fall.

Beautiful black oak.  I would love to see these in the Fall.

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