Mt Lukens is a place I’ve only gone to twice before so it was time to re visit it! Both prior times I’ve gone here I came from the Stone canyon trail which starts on the north side of Mt. Lukens but this time we would be coming from the south side starting at Deukmejian Wilderness Park which is on the border of Glendale and La Crescenta a couple of miles north of the 210 fwy. This is a nice little park with a few trails going around it and some nice spots for picnics but you know we are not about nice or picnics so the mission today was to climb on up to the top! The cool thing about this one is that we get to do a loop so Sunday morning I met up with Andrew and we set out on our journey.
The trail starts out easy enough as the park sits at the bottom of a wide canyon with Mt. Lukens being at the top so the first part goes up the canyon for a half mile or so before the real uphill begins, just enough time to get nice and warmed up. The first park of the trail is called the vineyard trail and the main trail up is called the Crescenta view trail. The day was nice with highs expecting to get to the mid 70’s so it was a little chilly at the beginning but I warmed up quickly, I only wore a long sleeved tech t for this and it was perfect. Anyways after the easy first part we hit some steep switchbacks for the next mile and we climbed up the east side of the canyon, the views were nice with the Verdugo Mountains directly to the south and downtown LA beyond that.
We kept a nice steady pace as this was not only a nice hike/run but also a training day for our upcoming Grand Canyon adventure coming up in May. Before you knew it about 2.5 miles in we were on top of a ridge line where things flattened out and you know what that means…We got into a nice mountain running trot for a mile or so and before you know it we hit the Mt. Lukens fire road which would be our path the rest of the way. From the fire road we got some amazing views of Big Tujunga Canyon and the San Gabriel mountains. After another mile we made it to the top, 4.5 miles total.
The top of Mt Lukens is like a mini Mt Wilson with a bunch of antennas but much smaller. According to the web sites we used as a guide there is supposed to be a survey marker so we searched around for it. We ask a couple of folks who both said they always do this hike but both said they never saw the marker. Well they must not have looked very hard because Andrew found it on the western part of the antenna farm so we took a couple of pic and headed down.
To get down we started on the Mt Lukens fire road going west, this part is pretty good running terrain and in about 2 miles down you will see a tall post. Take a left here as this is the Rim of the Valley trail. This part of the trail had a lot of switch backs and was very rocky so we had to be careful running down, I only folded my ankle once! At the bottom of the switch backs you end up in a nice shady canyon with a nasty surprise….After running downhill for 4.5 miles you had a mean little uphill to go over. Just a little taste of what the Grand Canyon will be like I told myself as I huffed and puffed my way over the top. After that it was a nice half mile back to the car. There is a nature trail near the bottom that can be confusing but they all end up at the same spot so you can’t go wrong no matter which way you pick.
All in all, the total trip was 10 miles (4.5 miles up and 5.5 miles down) and took us about 3 hours and 15 minutes. Call it 3 hours since we spent 15 minutes at the top looking for that damn marker.
Mt. Lukens makes for a nice workout with some good views the whole way and Deukmejian Wilderness park is a nice new discovery if you want a place to go to in the LA area. So what are you waiting for, plan your own trip there pronto!