Sexton Ridge Descent from Griffith Peak Overview
Sexton Ridge begins at Griffith Peak summit and continues down to the Lovell Canyon Trailhead. You can view my adventure from the Lovell Canyon Trailhead up Sexton Ridge on the Griffith Peak from Lovell Canyon
page on this site.
Sexton Ridge is Largely Untouched Due to Difficulty Getting There
Sexton Ridge is rarely if ever traveled by humans in part due to the difficulty getting there. The route from Lovell Canyon below is a bit complicated, very long and has no trails. The route taken today from Griffith Peak Summit involves ascending Griffith Peak twice, beginning at the Charleston South Climb Trailhead at Cathedral Rock, ascending about 3,500ft to the 11,060ft summit of Griffith Peak, descending Sexton Ridge on the far side of Griffith Peak (I descended about 1,800ft today), then re-ascending back to the summit of Griffith Peak before heading back down to the South Climb Trailhead. Psychologically, it’s difficult to gear yourself up to ascend Griffith Peak twice!
Sexton Ridge from Griffith Peak to Lovell Canyon Trailhead Involves Nearly 6,000ft Elevation Differential
From the Lovell Canyon Trailhead at the bottom, the ridge involves between 5,000 and 6,000ft ascent or descent, depending on the direction you are going. In an out and back trip no matter what direction you take Sexton Ridge you’re ascending and descending far more than what is involved in doing the Charleston Loop to the summit of Charleston Peak!
Sexton Ridge is a Recently Burned Out Forest
Another limiting factor that tends to keep people away from Sexton Ridge is the fact that its beautiful ancient bristlecone pine forest was burned out in a forest fire around 2013 leaving only charred remains of the trees. There is some grass, small plants and about 1,000 feet below the ridge summit, a few trees begin. For someone wanting the hike in a forest, Sexton Ridge is not the place to go.
The Views on the Sexton Ridge are Spectacular!
Sexton Ridge Has More Snow-Free Months Annually
Another benefit of Sexton Ridge is that it promises to be open (snow free) earlier in the Spring and later in the Fall due to its orientation to the sun.
Sexton Ridge Descent from Griffith Peak – Trailhead Directions
The beginning of this adventure is simply the South Climb of the Charleston Loop beginning at Cathedral Rock above Charleston Village in Kyle Canyon. See the trailhead directions on the Griffith Peak page.
Sexton Ridge Descent from Griffith Peak – Route Observations
Initial Descent Adventure
Ascent to Griffith Peak Summit
From the trailhead, continue past where the Cathedral Rock Trail splits off to the right. Arrive at the “junction” where the Charleston Loop reaches the South Ridge of Kyle Canyon…about 4.25 miles from the trailhead. At the junction turn left toward Griffith Peak. The summit looks like it is a long steep climb but it is actually only about 1/2th miles from the junction and you’re on the summit before you realize it.
Selecting the Right Descent Ridge from Griffith Peak
From Griffith Peak Summit there are basically two main ridge descent options (not counting the ridge you just ascended). One option is to descend the ridge toward Harris Mountain, which descends to a saddle before re-ascending to Harris Mountain. I’ve documented this ridge route between the two mountains in both directions: The Griffith > Harris Route and the Harris > Griffith Route.
The ridge you want today is Sexton Ridge, which descends down the West side of Lovell Canyon. You will see Lovell Canyon on your left and Trout Canyon on your right. The ridge is pretty much straight past Griffith Peak Summit, and then down with a rather steep descent followed by a brief leveling off, then another steep descent followed by a much longer gradual descent.
Limit of Today’s Descent – At This Point I’ve Covered All but 1/2 mile of Sexton Ridge
On this day, as noted, I descended to the edge of the longer gradual descent, when the ridge takes another plunge downward. At this point I was only 1/2 mile from the point I had ascended earlier from Lovell Canyon. So, there is only 1/2 mile of Sexton Ridge I have not yet traversed as of this first descent. But that 1/2 mile includes a rather steep cliff area. Perhaps this can be circumvented with little or no climbing beyond class 2. We’ll see on the next pass!
In all, Sexton Ridge from one end to the other is quite the distance and ascent challenge, requiring as much if not more effort than a marathon, or the Charleston Loop.