Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
3,018.00 ft (919.89 m)
Trail type
10.10 mi (16.25 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

This 18-mile loop ascends to Mount Lukens starting from Haines Canyon near Altadena, California. Reaching the top of Mount Lukens from Haines Canyon is a strenuous and steep ascent following the Sister Elsie Trail up the southwest face of the mountain. This route is rugged, remote, and exposed. Sections along Haines Canyon Road / Haines Canyon Trail are scenic and smooth. In contrast, the lesser traveled Sister Elsie Trail may have sections that are overgrown and require some bushwhacking. Long pants are recommended. 

Begin by heading north on Haines Canyon Road. The road turns east, passes a small lake and dam and continues to ascend along a dirt path. After about 2 miles take the Sister Elsie Trail which passes through tall grasses and shrubs as it winds through the canyon. This trail is passable but unmaintained and likely will be slow going. 

Eventually the trail reaches a saddle with scenic views on Mount Lukens’ west ridge. Continue along the north slope of the ridge to a junction with Stone Canyon Trail and then follow a fire road to the top of Mount Lukens. 

In order to locate the official summit, look for a small survey marker behind a fenced area. Take a few moments to enjoy the panoramic views of the San Gabriel Mountains front range, Los Angeles Basin, Verdugo Mountains, and Griffith Park. On a clear day, you may be able to see all the way to the Pacific Ocean. 

When you are ready to head back, continue on the fire road and take Haines Canyon Road all the way back to the start (avoiding a descent along the unmaintained Sister Elsie Trail). 


The trail originates in a residential area. Street parking is available on Haines Canyon Road. Pay close attention to parking signs, restrictions and regulations before leaving your car. 


  • The Sister Elsie Trail is known to have ticks therefore long pants and sleeves are recommended. 


Angeles National Forest:

Backcountry Camping Information:

Mount Lukens Climbing Routes:

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Solitude. Peak Bagging. Scenic Views.


Parts are unmaintained.

Trailhead Elevation

2,030.00 ft (618.74 m)

Highest point

5,064.00 ft (1,543.51 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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