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Idlehour Camp Trail


I couldn’t wait to organize a group to run this section of the AC 100 race. I set out on my own for a 14+ mile run starting at the Mt. Wilson Toll Road Bridge in Eaton Canyon.

I started at 1:30 when the temperature was at its peak. Who knew winter in Los Angeles meant 83 degrees? Made it up to Henninger Flats in 26 minutes (1,200 ft climb in just over 2.25 miles). Took a nice long break at the campground hoping to have the heat dip a little. No such luck. Decided to take it nice and easy so not to aggravate my right knee. Knee held up well most of the way until the Sam Merrill downhill section when it would lock up randomly. Walked last mile home.

The entire Idlehour trail is single track that leads down to a campground for through hikers. The trail at the base is littered with rocks, boulders, and in some parts, fallen trees from the recent windstorm. It’s a real ankle turner if you’re not careful. There’s a running stream that I used to dunk my face in and wipe the salt and dirt that had somehow accumulated on my face. Did I mention it was grossly hot? The climb up to the Sam Merrill/Mt.Lowe Rd./Sunset Trail Intersection is completely runnable (2,000ft climb in about 3.6 miles). There are a number of fallen trees I had to climb over and duck under, but overall the trails were well-groomed and fast, if you wanted to be fast, of course. Enjoyed a nice five minute walk under the shade as I refueled with banana bread and an orange. At the top of the climb is the intersection that leads to three different destinations. I decided to go to Inspiration point and down to Echo Mountain to cut my run short from 23 to 16+ miles. This part of the run I’ve written about in another entry: Inspiration Point Run.

My total time on the trail was about 3:30:00, but I can see how this section can be run in 2.5 hours. I didn’t realize just how bad the run had been on my feet until I arrived home to find that my feet were swollen, caked with dirt, and bloodied. I guess gaiters were needed for the run. My poor NB 870 are hanging on and are probably only good for a hundred more miles. Looks like back to the Saucony Kinvaras for the dirt trails.

Garmin Run Profile:


3 thoughts on “Idlehour Camp Trail

  1. I just read about your run to henninger flats and beyond…. Way beyond. I was never made for competition in sports, and love to hear people’s running times. Do you know how fast you can run to henninger if that was your whole run for the day. I am 55 years old and decided to beat my record 20 years ago of 28.26. My heart rate hits 180 bpm.
    When you stated you ran it in 26, I would guess 23 mins at peak performance. And by the way, when tracked by google earth it looks like about 2.4 from the bridge. Are you a professional runner?

    • I started the watch as soon as I crossed the bridge. I burned myself out running to the Camp, so I think this is the time I can do. I’m not professional, but sometimes think so in my own mind, then I cramp up and stop and come back down to reality:-) As you know, there are a lot of turns/switchbacks to the Camp, if you run the tangents you may be able to cut a minute or so off your time. Keep those legs moving and good luck achieving your previous time.

      • Running uphill takes everything.
        My fastest times are always a combo.
        I walk fast on the steep parts.
        I run all the flat parts
        I don’t think I can run the whole way.
        I thought I read that you moved from ca. But I’m on my iPhone so it’s not easy to navigate.
        However, if you want an interesting run, grifith park mountains is excellent because you can continually change your route with a thousand variations.
        Running it after the park is closed, is both fun and odd like a Twight Zone episode where the whole town is gone. You will always see many deer, and even more coyotes. If you ever do it I can tell you the many ways to get in and out after the gates are “locked”
        Happy trails

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