Strawberry Peak via Mountaineer’s Route
Strawberry Peak via Colby Canyon (Mountaineer’s Route) Quick Facts
No Adventure Pass required
Allow 7 hours
Moderate/Hard – Class 3 Scrambling
2,730′ of elevation gain
Hot and exposed in summer, start early and bring enough water
Trail DescriptionThis hike starts out at the Colby Canyon trailhead, following the canyon floor for about a half mile. After a few stream crossings, you will start up switchbacks that end at a large concrete water storage tank. This is Josephine Saddle. Going to the left will lead to Josephine Peak, going to the right will take you six miles to the opposite side of the mountain where you can access Mount Lawler and Strawberry Peak via the standard hiking trail.
From this point, the Mountaineer’s Route is not obvious. There is no visible trail, so you will have to bushwhack your way straight up by faith until you see a trail that follows the backbone of the ridge. Once you get to the ridge in 50-100 feet, you’ll see a clear path that leads all the way to the summit.
In a quarter mile, maybe less, you will come to the first Class 3 rock section. Climb to the top and stay to the left of the rock formation when you reach the top. You will see the ridge path again. Follow this path, fighting your way through yucca plants and thorn bushes. Don’t touch the “Poodle Bushes” which are easy to spot because they are fuzzy. Touching these will give you a rash similar to poison oak, but not as severe.
When you reach a high point on the ridge, you will look down into a gully that leads back up to the summit. From a distance, it looks impassable, but just keep following the ridge to the base of the upper mountain. People have left red tape tied to branches to mark the route. As you climb, the route will become visible and there is no exposure. Just relax and enjoy the climb. After 400 feet of climbing, you will reach the summit.
Once you get to the summit, the best way to come down is to follow the standard hiking trail down the other side towards Mount Lawler. Unlike the route you took to the summit, it is clearly marked. Once you get to the junction at the Lawler Saddle, you’re going to take the trail to the left and follow it all the way back around Strawberry Peak where it will connect to Josephine Saddle. You are almost home.
The best walkthrough on this hike is from Angeles Explorer. Check it out before you go.