For some reason, maps showing the trails of Bailey Canyon do not distinguish actual trails that really exist and that you can hike on, from planned trails that are only a vision in someone's head and that you therefore cannot hike on, since they don't exist. What is even more confusing is that different maps show different planned trails.
These two maps show only the trails which actually exist:
- Bailey Canyon Trails, Lower Mt. Wilson Trail, and Connector Trails
- Upper Mt. Wilson Trail and Ridge Route from Bailey Canyon to the Mt. Wilson Toll Road
All of these trails except the Mt. Wilson Trail are described in Bailey Canyon Trails.
The purpose of this page is to describe the trails plotted on various maps which do not actually exist on the ground. This map shows both existing and hypothetical connector trails. For best clarity, open that map in another window, and refer to it as you read the discussion below.
The connector trails, in order from northwest to southeast for the trail's northernmost point, are:
- The Ridge Route, which begins at about mile 0.8 of the Mt. Wilson Trail at an elevation of ~1600', follows the ridgeline roughly northwest to Jones Peak (3375'), heads north for ~0.2 mile, then northwest again to an intersection with the Mt. Wilson Toll Road at ~4280'. The Ridge Route is the solid thin black line on the map.
The Ridge Route is not a formal trail, but is a steep route that is easily passable. This Route is not shown on any map, but has existed in fairly good condition since at least 1997.
- Planned Trail 1 does not exist, but is shown on the latest USGS Topo Map (1995) and Tom Harrison's latest map. Neither map gives any indication at all that this trail is only a planned trail which does not actually exist. Planned Trail 1 is the uppermost dashed red line on the map.
- PT2 is an abbreviation for Planned Trail 2 and also does not exist. This planned trail is correctly shown as an incomplete trail on the August, 1999 City of Sierra Madre Trail Guide. Planned Trail 2 is the dashed red line almost entirely north-south in the middle of the map.
At the beginning of the Bailey Canyon Trail, a trail map is displayed at the kiosk at the north end of the parking lot. For many years in the 1990s, this trail map showed Planned Trail 2 as an actual trail. As a result, in 1997 and earlier, Craig Cheetham, Booth Hartley and I searched carefully for this connector trail, but we could find no trace of any such connector trail. Booth even used a helicopter to look for the trail in 1989!
- GK is a route discovered by Gene Kopan in May 2000. Gene reported that he was able to follow a connector "route" through ample poison oak, thanks to some work by volunteers in 1999. The route shown is that recorded by his GPS during his trip. The GK route is the dashed black line in the middle of the map.
Gene reports that his route was "just some broken twigs and a few pieces of tape here and there", so it probably is quite hard to pick up. Mac Pigman reports that he was unable to find this trail in November 2001, despite looking carefully for it. Gene was able to pick up the starting point for his route in December 2001.
There is also a similar route followed by a friend of ours in May 2000 that begins a bit lower than Gene's route. That friend found the beginning of his route in December 2001 as well.
- Connector is a currently-existing trail in good shape. Its existence was first reported to me in August 2001 by David Sotnick. The route for the Connector Trail follows a GPS track supplied by Gene Kopan and GPS endpoints supplied by Erik Siering. This Connector Trail is the thick blue nearly east-west line in the middle of the map.
David, Mac and Erik report that this trail is mostly in good shape as of December 2001, but the very last part descends a streambed, and might be in poor condition during and after a rain.
Mac talked to Pete and Charley, two people maintaining the lower part of the Mt. Wilson Trail, on December 15, 2001, who told him that the planned longer connector trail would require chiseling rock in the Decker Spring drainage, and thus won't be built for quite some time. They also said that this currently-existing connector trail was not built by their group.
- Planned Trail 3 does not exist, but is shown on the latest USGS Topo Map (1995) and Tom Harrison's latest map. Again, neither map gives any indication at all that this trail is only a planned trail which does not actually exist. Planned Trail 3 is the dashed red line in the bottom middle of the map.
The locations of Planned Trail 1 and Planned Trail 3 were plotted from the 1995 USGS topo map supplied by Tom Wynne and R.J. Secor. Mac Pigman contributed the information about the trails on Tom Harrison's map.
It is very curious, and disturbing, that the USGS Topo Maps now show planned trails that don't actually exist on the ground. Apparently, when the USGS allowed the US Forest Service to revise their maps, they failed to tell them about the standard of accuracy that the USGS Topo Maps have been known for. As a result, USGS Topo Maps can no longer be trusted to show a map representation of what is actually on the ground. Further, Tom Harrison claims that he hikes each trail himself with a measuring wheel in order to assure the accuracy of his maps. Yet in this case, Harrison relied on the USGS Topo Map itself, without hiking the trail and getting the mileage himself.
Copyright © 2001-2002 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 4 January 2002.