Mount Pacifico 7,134', 2,398' +/-, 14 miles on the PCT from Mill Creek, June 3, 2018

I’m always looking to escape weekend crowds and find new trails to explore.  This Sunday our hike was to the top of Mount Pacifico in the northern part of Angeles National Forest.  We planned to start the hike at Mill Creek and follow the PCT which runs through this area.  It looked like the trek would be around 12 to 14 miles depending on whether or not we did an out and back on the PCT or did a loop.  The day was going to be hot, but I figured since we were heading up to a higher elevation, it might not be so bad on the ascent.  If it got too hot, we would descend and save it for another time.  The trail was very beautiful.  There were many wildflowers and so much ceanothus (California lilac) which made for a very pleasant fragrance along the way.  There was lots of wildlife activity too; squirrels, chipmunks, songbirds, bees, insects and butterflies.  As we climbed higher, we started to see beautiful, tall pine trees.  Much of the area was burned in the 2009 Station Fire, and we could see the effects of that as we hiked this route.  But the area looks as though it’s been recovering nicely.  Eventually, we reached a junction where we left the PCT and headed southeast to a jeep road that took us up to the summit.  There are outstanding views of the surrounding mountain ranges along the way making the road more interesting.  After about a mile or so we reached the summit.  Mount Pacifico Campground is also here.  There are picnic tables, a fire ring and vault toilets.  That’s quite a luxury to have up on a summit!  There are also a lot of very interesting rock formations to explore.  There wasn’t anyone here today, so we took a good long rest and relaxed and enjoyed the peace and quiet.  Soon it was time to head back and get ready for the heat as we descended to a lower elevation.  We opted to come back the way we came on the PCT for a more scenic and enjoyable route.  Both of us had been keeping well hydrated throughout the trip and we had no problems with it being so warm.  We were even gifted with an occasional breeze as we hiked back down the mountain.  I found this trail to be very nicely graded so although it was long, it was very pleasant.  A very enjoyable hike!
 

 We started off on the PCT at the Mill Creek Picnic area.

We started off on the PCT at the Mill Creek Picnic area.

 The sun was already getting warm.  I knew we'd have to hike back later when it was even warmer, but at least we were headed to a higher elevation where it would be a bit cooler.

The sun was already getting warm.  I knew we'd have to hike back later when it was even warmer, but at least we were headed to a higher elevation where it would be a bit cooler.

 The trail was pretty with a mix of trees charred by the 2009 station fire and blooming wildflowers.

The trail was pretty with a mix of trees charred by the 2009 station fire and blooming wildflowers.

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 Most of the route sits on the North face of the mountain, so we had nice views of the desert as well as some morning shade.

Most of the route sits on the North face of the mountain, so we had nice views of the desert as well as some morning shade.

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 The bump dead center is Mount Pacifico, where we were headed.

The bump dead center is Mount Pacifico, where we were headed.

 After some climbing, we came upon a wide, mostly flat section.  There were wildflowers here too and lots of butterfy and insect activity.

After some climbing, we came upon a wide, mostly flat section.  There were wildflowers here too and lots of butterfy and insect activity.

 After the flat section, we started to see some big pine trees.

After the flat section, we started to see some big pine trees.

 At this junction we followed the PCT.

At this junction we followed the PCT.

 From what I read in my trail book, you can also take this trail that splits off to the right but it's a bit steeper.  It meets up with the PCT again later at the junction to the summit.

From what I read in my trail book, you can also take this trail that splits off to the right but it's a bit steeper.  It meets up with the PCT again later at the junction to the summit.

 The route along the PCT was quite pretty.

The route along the PCT was quite pretty.

 We had a few nice breaks from the sun with some shaded spots.

We had a few nice breaks from the sun with some shaded spots.

 The PCT continues just after this sign.  We left the PCT and followed the middle trail here southeast which took us to a jeep road and followed it up to the summit.

The PCT continues just after this sign.  We left the PCT and followed the middle trail here southeast which took us to a jeep road and followed it up to the summit.

 A nice patch of wildflowers.

A nice patch of wildflowers.

 The summit is about 1 mile up on the road.  Great views along the way.

The summit is about 1 mile up on the road.  Great views along the way.

 And finally the summit.  There's a really nice campground here.  No one was here today.  We spent a good while just relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet under the big pine trees.

And finally the summit.  There's a really nice campground here.  No one was here today.  We spent a good while just relaxing and enjoying the peace and quiet under the big pine trees.

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 Soon it was time to head back down.  Here's a photo of the views from the jeep road.

Soon it was time to head back down.  Here's a photo of the views from the jeep road.

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 That same patch of wildflowers I saw on the way up.

That same patch of wildflowers I saw on the way up.

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 There's a lot to look at on this trail.  The hike back down although long, was lovely.

There's a lot to look at on this trail.  The hike back down although long, was lovely.

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 The whole side of the mountain was covered in ceanothus (California lilac) You can imagine how great this hike smelled the whole way.

The whole side of the mountain was covered in ceanothus (California lilac) You can imagine how great this hike smelled the whole way.

 It was pretty hot by the time we arrived at the car.  Luckily, there was a nice breeze that came off and on to keep us cool.  Despite the warm weather, it was a very enjoyable hike today.

It was pretty hot by the time we arrived at the car.  Luckily, there was a nice breeze that came off and on to keep us cool.  Despite the warm weather, it was a very enjoyable hike today.