Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
1,879.00 ft (572.72 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
8.30 mi (13.36 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.

Josephine Peak is an 8.3-mile out-and-back located off the Angeles Crest Highway near Red Box Gap. The route is primarily a dirt fire road with a reasonable grade, and is moderate-to-heavily trafficked, depending on the day. Josephine Peak is popular with trail runners, day hikers, and mountain bikers. A number of other adventures are possible in the vicinity of the trailhead, as well as opportunities to extend this route. The trail is quite exposed, so be prepared for any incoming weather, and as always, bring plenty of water. 

Park in one of the few parking areas at the intersection of Angeles Crest Highway and Angeles Forest Highway (no permit needed). The route begins at a yellow gate, clearly marked ‘Josephine Trail.’ This dirt road will take you steadily uphill for the next 4.1 miles to the summit of Josephine Peak. Along the way you’ll catch great views all around, including the surrounding San Gabriel Mountains, the Los Angeles Basin, and Catalina Island on clear days. Neighboring Strawberry Peak is a prominent view for much of this trail, standing just to the south and east of Josephine. Near mile 2.5, one has the option to extend this route by taking the Josephine Saddle 0.5 miles to connect to the Colby Canyon Trail. At the summit of Josephine Peak exist the remains of a fire lookout, which, according to the Sierra Club, existed here from 1937 until a fire in 1976. The namesake of the peak is a debated subject. An early history of the area claimed that the peak was named by La Crescenta ranch owner Phil Begue for his daughter, while other sources argue that the Josephine in question was actually the wife of USGS surveyor Joseph Barlow Lippencott. Either way, head back the way you came after enjoying the summit views, and have a safe hike down.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Scenic views. Wildlife. Other adventures nearby.

Cons

Exposed. Can be crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

3,626.00 ft (1,105.20 m)

Highest point

5,484.00 ft (1,671.52 m)

Features

Vault toilet
Wildlife
Family friendly
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

No

Suitable for

Biking

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Los Angeles Metro Area, California
Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California

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