For a 19 mile hike that ascends 5,500 vertical feet, it feels unaccountably pleasant. Ok, ok, ok, the first mile is punishing. And there are some sections there at the end that remind one this isn't a gimme. But, get there at 6:30am, throw back some pre-workout, sip on protein powder during, and you're good. I did the hike on a Wednesday and finding a parking spot wasn't an issue. Even though it was 93 degrees in LA, I was cold at the start of the hike. Light pants and a long sleeve coolmax shirt over a T for the ascent. T and shorts for the descent. Choose a day where the weather report has the wind under 10mph. You'll be happy for that.
Mt Baden Powell
If you're looking for a pleasant hike on which to take a second or third date, this isn't it. Unless your date is looking for endless switchbacks through unvarying pine forests up steep grades to a false summit that sits three hundred feet below the main summit across an exposed ridge. It's a slog. And, hard to reach from LA. Given it's history though, you're going to have to hike it at least once.
The hike meanders up shaded icehouse canyon beside a lovely stream that blossoms into a waterfall. The canyon was full of flowering bushes smelling of honeysuckle in early June. From the saddle, you hang a right to get to Kelly Camp and from there the trail steepens. You'll hit a number of soul killing false summits before you get to the actual summit, where the views are spectacular. You'll can get a good look at Baldy for example, a hike which I think is actually inferior to Ontario.
This hike packs a lot of adventure into 7 miles. After a pleasant start in a narrow canyon shaded with oaks, you hit a series of steeper unshaded switchbacks to the saddle. From there, the trail gets narrow, steep, loose, choked with thorn bushes and yuccas, and hard to follow. The final push to the summit consists of hard rock scrambling with some exposed sections that will make you uncomfortable. At the end of it, you'll be covered in scratches, pollen, sweat, and a few bug bites. But, with a renewed sense of accomplishment.
This is a great hike for a hot day, as the trail descends from the Angeles Crest into a narrow tree-lined canyon, following a stream. There are multiple stone foundations along the way, perhaps from mining cabins? And, the hike ends at Oakwilde Campground, which is a charming open area next to Arroyo Seco.