Trails of the Angeles: 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels

Trails of the Angeles: 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels

by John W. Robinson, Doug Christiansen

Paperback(Ninth Edition)



The authoritative volume to hiking in the San Gabriel Mountains

The San Gabriels loom large over the Los Angeles Basin. Only one guidebook has consistently covered the best hiking trails that traverse this sinuous mountain range, easily accessible to Southland residents and visitors. Trails of the Angeles describes 100 classic hiking trips, ranging from one-hour strolls to challenging two-day backcountry trips. Almost all are in the Angeles National Forest, plus some high-country trips in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Here you’ll find:

  • Trip difficulty evaluations, season recommendations, length, and elevation gain or loss
  • Historical photos and descriptions, including the first American Indian footpaths, early pioneer homesteads, and landmarks still visible from the Great Hiking Era
  • “Trails that Used to Be”: ghost trails that have vanished or are now impassable
  • A folded color map detailing all the hikes described in the book

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780899977140
Publisher: Wilderness Press
Publication date: 07/02/2013
Edition description: Ninth Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.74(w) x 8.36(h) x 0.74(d)

About the Author

Author John Robinson has been hiking the San Gabriels for more than four decades and is considered the foremost expert on the trails of these mountains. He wrote the first edition of “Trails of the Angeles” in 1971, and soon followed with “San Bernadino Mountain Trails,” in addition to three High Sierra hiking guides and five books on Southern California mountain history and lore.

For this 9th edition he's been joined by seasoned hiker (and airline pilot) Doug Christiansen, who updated the book to reflect the latest trail conditions.

Read an Excerpt


HIKE LENGTH: 7 miles one way; 3,600' elevation gain
SEASON: November–June
TOPO MAP: Mount Wilson

Mount Wilson can be climbed by trails from more directions than any other peak in Southern California. The mountain is laced with footpaths.

This trail goes from Chantry Flat over the old Sturtevant Trail to Winter Creek, and then climbs steeply up through a dense forest of big-cone Douglas-firs and oaks to the Winter Creek–Little Santa Anita divide, where it joins the Old Mount Wilson Trail and continues on to the toll road and the summit. A number of interesting variations can be planned (see below). Be in top physical shape; the trip is steeply uphill most of the way.

From the Foothill Freeway in Arcadia, take the Santa Anita Avenue off-ramp and drive north to Chantry Flat, 5 miles. The Chantry Flat Road is sometimes closed for repair. Check with the US Forest Service before attempting this hike. Also note that the gate on Chantry Flat Road is closed 8 p.m.–6 a.m.; get an early start. Be sure to display your Adventure Pass on your parked vehicle.

Walk from the parking area up to the Chantry Flat Ranger Station, and start up the fire road that begins 50 feet left (south) of it, adjacent to the sloping picnic area. After a short 0.25-mile trip, at the road’s second switchback, turn right (northwest) onto the Sturtevant Trail (marked UPPER WINTER CREEK TRAIL on the topo map) and follow it around the ridges 1.5 miles to a trail junction where a sign indicates Mount Wilson. If you reach Winter Creek above Hoegees Trail Camp, you’ve gone 100 yards too far. Turn left (northwest) at the junction and follow the trail as it climbs steeply for 2 miles through firs and oaks to the ridgetop and a second trail junction. Here, you intersect the Old Mount Wilson Trail coming up from Little Santa Anita Canyon (see Hike 40). Continue up the ridgetop trail as it zigzags steeply up, back and forth across the firebreak, to the Mount Wilson Toll Road, 0.5 mile farther. Turn right and follow the old toll road 1 mile through open stands of evergreens to its junction with the Mount Wilson Road just outside the entrance to Skyline Park.

You have several options on this trip. You can descend the way you came up. You can have someone waiting for you at the road loop outside Mount Wilson Skyline Park to drive you down. You can descend the old toll road to Altadena (see Hike 27) or the Old Mount Wilson Trail via Little Santa Anita Canyon to Sierra Madre (see Hike 40)—both of these options require a car shuttle. Or you can enter Skyline Park (open April 1–November 30; with refreshments available Friday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.), walk past the observatory grounds to the east end of the mountain, and descend via the Sturtevant Trail (see Hike 45).

Table of Contents

Map of the San Gabriel Area ix

Preface to the Eighth Edition x

Preface to the Ninth Edition xi

Introduction 1

The San Gabriel Mountains 4

Humans in the San Gabriels 8

Hiking Hints 19

Maps 21

Using This Book 23

100 Hikes in the San Gabriels 25

Western End of the San Gabriels Hikes: Liebre-Sawmill-Sierra Pelona


1 County Road N2 via Horse Trail to Liebre Mountain 26

2 Sawmill Mountain Ridge to Atmore Meadows, Gillette Mine, Bear Canyon 29

3 Castaic Creek to Cienaga Campground, Fish Canyon Narrows, Lion Trail Camp 31

4 Bouquet Canyon to Big Oak Spring, Sierra Pelona 34

Front Range of the San Gabriels Hikes


5 Placerita Canyon State Park to Walker Ranch Campground, Los Pinetos Spring, Los Pinetos Ridge, Firebreak Ridge, Manzanita Mountain 36

6 Dillon Divide to Pacoima Canyon, Dutch Louie Flat, Dagger Flat 38

7 Gold Creek to Oak Spring, Fascination Spring 40

8 Alder Creek to Barley Flats 42

9 Big Tujunga to Tom Lucas Trail Camp, Big Cienaga 44

10 Big Tujunga to Tom Lucas Trail Camp, Indian Ben Saddle, Upper Pacoima Canyon, Deer Spring, Messenger Flats Campground 46

11 Big Tujunga to Mount Lukens via Stone Canyon Trail 48

12 Big Tujunga to Condor Peak via Fox Divide 50

13 Angeles Crest Highway to Grizzly Flat and Vasquez Creek 52

14 Tujunga to Mount Lukens via Haines Canyon Trail 54

15 Altadena to Oakwilde via Arroyo Seco 55

16 Angeles Crest Highway to Oakwilde, Arroyo Seco, Switzer Trail Camp, and Switzer's Picnic Area 57

17 Switzer's Picnic Area to Commodore Switzer Trail Camp, Switzer Falls, Arroyo Seco Cascades 59

18 Switzer's Picnic Area to Commodore Switzer Trail Camp, Bear Canyon, Bear Canyon Trail 62

19 Millard Canyon to Dawn Mine 64

20 Millard Canyon to Millard Canyon Falls 66

21 Brown Mountain Loop 67

22 Sunset Ridge to Mount Lowe Campground 70

23 Mount Lowe Railway Loop Tour 73

24 Sam Merrill Trail: Altadena to Echo Mountain 76

25 Altadena to Rubio Canyon 78

26 Altadena to Henninger Flats 80

27 Mount Wilson Toll Road 82

28 Altadena to Henninger Flats, Idlehour Trail to Eaton Canyon, Idlehour Trail Camp, Inspiration Point, Castle Canyon, Echo Mountain 86

29 Red Box to San Gabriel Peak, Mount Disappointment 88

30 Eaton Saddle to Markham Saddle, Mount Lowe 90

31 Eaton Saddle to Mount Lowe Trail Camp, Mount Lowe Fire Road 92

32 Eaton Saddle to Markham Saddle, San Gabriel Peak 94

33 Eaton Saddle to Markham Saddle, Tom Sloan Saddle, Bear Canyon, Arroyo Seco, Switzer Campground 96

34 Sierra Madre to Bailey Canyon, Jones Peak 98

35 Josephine Fire Road to Josephine Peak 100

36 Colby Canyon to Strawberry Peak 102

37 Red Box to Strawberry Peak, Josephine Saddle, Colby Canyon 104

38 Red Box to Strawberry Spring, Strawberry Meadow 106

39 Sierra Madre to Orchard Camp 108

40 Old Mount Wilson Trail 110

41 Chantry Flat to Sturtevant Falls 112

42 Chantry Flat to Spruce Grove Trail Camp 114

43 Chantry Flat via Sturtevant Trail to Hoegees Trail Camp, Mount Zion, Big Santa Anita Canyon 117

44 Chantry Flat to Mount Wilson via Winter Creek 119

45 Chantry Flat to Sturtevant Camp and Mount Wilson 121

46 Chantry Flat to Newcomb Pass, West Fork of the San Gabriel River, Devore Trail Camp, West Fork Campground 123

47 Gabrielino National Recreation Trail 126

48 Monrovia Canyon Park to Sawpit Canyon, Deer Park 128

49 Azusa to Mount Bliss via Van Tassel Fire Road 130

50 Azusa to Fish Canyon, Fish Canyon Falls 132

Backcountry Hikes: West Fork of the San Gabriel River to the Desert


51 Mount Wilson via Kenyon DeVore Trail to West Fork Campground 135

52 Mount Wilson to West Fork Campground, Devore Trail Camp 137

53 Angeles Crest Highway via Shortcut Canyon to West Fork Campground 139

54 Angeles Forest Highway to Big Tujunga Narrows 141

55 Mount Gleason Road to Mount Gleason 143

56 Mill Creek Summit to Mt. Pacifico Campground 145

57 Chilao to Devil's Canyon, San Gabriel Wilderness 147

58 Chilao to Horse Flats, Mount Hillyer 149

59 Three Points to Twin Peaks Saddle, San Gabriel Wilderness, Twin Peaks, Mount Waterman, and Buckhorn 151

60 Buckhorn to Mount Waterman 154

61 Cloudburst Summit to Cooper Canyon, Cooper Canyon Trail Camp, Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, and Buckhorn Campground 156

62 Buckhorn Campground to Cooper Canyon, Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, Little Rock Creek 158

63 Buckhorn to Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, Little Rock Creek, Burkhart Saddle, Pleasant View Ridge 160

64 Eagles Roost Picnic Area to Little Rock Creek, Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness 162

65 Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, Mount Williamson from Angeles Crest Highway 164

66 Angeles Crest Highway to Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness, Mount Williamson, Pleasant View Ridge, Burkhart Saddle, Little Rock Creek, Eagles Roost 167

67 Burkhart Trail: Devil's Punchbowl to Pleasant View Ridge, Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness 169

68 Devil's Punchbowl County Park 171

69 South Fork Campground to Devil's Punchbowl 172

70 South Fork Trail: South Fork Campground to Islip Saddle 174

71 Manzanita Trail: South Fork Campground to Vincent Gap 177

72 West Fork of the San Gabriel River, CA 39 to Glenn Trail Camp, Cogswell Dam and Reservoir 180

Middle High Country Hikes: Above the North and East Forks of the San Gabriel River


73 CA 39 to Smith Mountain 182

74 San Gabriel Wilderness: CA 39 to West Fork of the San Gabriel River, Bear Creek 183

75 Soldier Creek Trail: CA 39 to Lewis Falls 186

76 Crystal Lake to Little Jimmy Spring, Mount Islip 187

77 Islip Saddle to Little Jimmy Campground and Mount Islip 190

78 Middle High Country: Crystal Lake to Windy Gap, Mount Hawkins, Throop Peak, Mount Baden-Powell 191

79 Crystal Lake to Mount Hawkins and South Mount Hawkins Lookout 194

80 Dawson Saddle to Throop Peak 196

81 Vincent Gap to Mount Baden-Powell 198

82 Vincent Gap to Big Horn Mine 201

83 Vincent Gap via Vincent Gulch to Prairie Fork, Sheep Mountain Wilderness, East Fork of San Gabriel River 203

84 East Fork, San Gabriel River: Sheep Mountain Wilderness, Ranger Station to The Narrows 205

85 East Fork, San Gabriel River: Sheep Mountain Wilderness, Ranger Station to The Narrows, Iron Fork, Fish Fork, Mine Gulch, Vincent Gulch, Vincent Gap 208

86 East Fork Ranger Station to Sheep Mountain Wilderness, Iron Mountain 210

87 Blue Ridge to Prairie Fork, Pine Mountain Ridge, Sheep Mountain Wilderness, Little Fish Fork, Upper Fish Fork 213

88 Blue Ridge to Pine Mountain, Sheep Mountain Wilderness 216

89 Big Pines to Blue Ridge 218

Eastern High Country Hikes: Mount San Antonio to the Eastern End


90 Glendora Ridge Road to Sunset Peak 220

91 La Verne to Marshall Canyon Regional Park, Marshall Canyon Loop Trail 221

92 Manker Flat to Baldy Notch, Devil's Backbone, Mount San Antonio 225

93 Mt. Baldy Village to Mount San Antonio via Bear Canyon Trails 228

94 Manker Flat to Upper San Antonio Creek, Baldy Bowl, Mount San Antonio Summit 231

95 Stockton Flat to Baldy Notch 233

96 Baldy Notch to Thunder, Telegraph, Timber Mountains, Cucamonga Wilderness, Icehouse Saddle, Icehouse Canyon 236

97 Icehouse Canyon to Icehouse Saddle, Cucamonga Wilderness 238

98 Icehouse Canyon to Icehouse Saddle, Cucamonga Wilderness, Kelly's Camp, Ontario Peak 240

99 Icehouse Canyon to Icehouse Saddle, Cucamonga Wilderness, Cucamonga Peak 242

100 Middle Fork of Lytle Creek to Cucamonga Wilderness, Icehouse Saddle 244

Summary of Hikes 246

Organized Trail Systems 250

Trails that Used to Be 253

Index 257

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