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Angeles National Forest

Los Angeles River Ranger District- The Los Angeles River Ranger District encompasses the mountainous area to the north of the San Fernando Valley and the cities of Arcadia, Pasadena, Altadena, and San Fernando.
Pacific Crest Trail- From desert to glacier-flanked mountain, meadow to forest, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) symbolizes everything there is to love - and protect - in the Western United States.
San Gabriel River Ranger District- The diverse topography of the San Gabriel River Ranger District is tantalizing to the outdoor enthusiast. From the beautiful natural resource of the San Gabriel River to the two fresh water reservoirs, to the awe-inspiring San Gabriel Range, this district entertains millions of visitors annually.
Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers Ranger District- The scenic Santa Clara / Mohave Rivers Ranger District appeals to a wide spectrum of outdoor users. Trailblazers, campers, picnickers, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts find this district a satiable destination.

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General Information

Mt. Baden Powell, Angeles National Forest
Copyright: - US Forest Service
Mt. Baden Powell, Angeles National Forest
Description - The land within the Angeles National Forest is as diverse in appearance and terrain as it is in the opportunities it provides for enjoyment. Elevations range from 1,200 to 10,064 feet. Much of the Forest is covered with dense chaparral which changes to pine and fir-covered slopes as you reach the majestic peaks of the higher elevations. Beautiful wildflowers and a variety of wildlife are abundant throughout the Forest.

Attractions - A great way to acquaint oneself with Angeles National Forest is by stopping at one of the three visitor centers: Chilao Visitor Center is located on State Highway 2, about 27 miles north of the city of La Canada (off Interstate 210); Grassy Hollow Visitor Center is located on Highway 2, 6 miles west of the town of Wrightwood; and the Mt. Baldy Schoolhouse Visitor Center is located in Mt. Baldy Village. See Contact Information for phone numbers.

The Angeles Crest Scenic Byway highlights some of the Forest's most spectacular features. The Byway, State Highway 2, runs from La Canada to Wrightwood. There are numerous other vista points on the Forest. Mt. Wilson offers views across the L.A. basin to the Pacific Ocean. From Mill Creek Summit, on the north side of the Forest, the view stretches to Palmdale and the desert beyond. The Devil's Canyon Vista, across from the Chilao Recreation Area, has panoramic views of the San Gabriel Wilderness and Twin Peaks. From Inspiration Point on Blue Ridge, you can see the rugged peaks and deep canyons of the Sheep Mountain Wilderness.

Within the Angeles National Forest the rugged San Gabriel and Sheep Mountain Wilderness Areas cover more than 125 square miles, with elevations that range from 2,400 to over 10,000 feet. The Cucamonga Wilderness, which also lies on the San Bernardino National Forest, offers another 13,000 acres of natural, unspoiled beauty. Travel in the Wilderness is restricted to foot or horseback. A free permit is required to enter the Cucamonga and Sheep Mountain Wildernesses. Permits can be obtained from the Mt. Baldy Ranger District office in Glendora and the Forest Headquarters office in Arcadia.

The Angeles National Forest offers 557 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, including 73 miles of National Recreation Trails and 176 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. The trails offer ample choices for all, from beginners to experienced outdoor enthusiasts.

There are over 110 camping and picnicking sites in the Angeles National Forest. The choices range from sunny streamsides under cottonwood and native live oak trees to stands of tall pines at the higher elevations.

The area mountains support several ski areas. Mt. Baldy, Mountain High, Sunrise, Snowcrest, and Mt. Waterman ski areas are all located on or near the Forest.

Pets are welcome in the Angeles National Forest, but in consideration of other visitors and for your pet's safety and the protection of wildlife, all pets must be kept on a leash (no longer than 6 feet in length) at all times.

Recreation - The Angeles National Forest is a place where you can hike, camp, mountain bike, fish, swim, enjoy water sports, target shoot, go off-roading, or just enjoy the beautiful scenery. In the winter, the Forest supports several downhill ski areas as well as areas for cross-country skiing, sledding and general snow play.

Forest visitors on the San Bernardino, Cleveland, Angeles and Los Padres National Forests of Southern California are required to purchase an Adventure Pass and display it on their vehicle when parked in the Forest. The cost is $5 per day or $30 per year and can be purchased in any Forest Service office or over 350 businesses throughout Southern California.

Climate - With the huge elevation range, the Angeles experiences tremendous variations in climate. The lower elevations experience relatively warm temperatures year round, with rain much more frequent in the winter months than in the summer months. The high elevations receive enough snow in the winter to support several ski areas. The summers bring warm temperatures to the mountains.

Location - The Angeles National Forest lies mainly in the San Gabriel Mountains, just north of the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Cesar Sanchez (So. El Monte, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: If hiking is a little out of the way for any one. Almost any turn out on the Los Angeles Crest Highway (Highway 2)can be a relaxing experience, when the view is taken in. Some might say that the San Gabriel Mountains are not near as spectacular as the Sierra Nevadas are, but they do have their own characteristics that make them special. After endless searches on the web, I have made an attempt to create a visual presentation that features that San Gabriel Mountains, which may be of help to anyone interested in visiting this forest, as to what they might look like.(please note that most of the images in the site were taken no more than 100 feet from a road) so a drive alone can reveal the beauty of these mountains.

Filed By: Dan Simpson (Azusa, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 25-50 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: San Antonio Canyon / "Ski Hut Trail" / Angeles National Forest - San Bernardino National Forest / Southern California. Trail Stats: Mileage (r.t.): 7.0 ; Trailhead: 6160'; South Ridge: 9000'; El. gain 2840'; Gain per mi. 811';

John Robinson added this hike to his Trail of the Angeles in its seventh edition, 1998, and it's a real winner. The trail alluded my radar because I was using Robinson's sixth edition. But on May 17, 2003, I strapped on my boots and headed up San Antonio Canyon. I fell in love with it. The map ("Angeles High Country" by Tom Harrison Maps) labels the route as "Baldy Bowl Trail." John McKinney says it's popularly called the "Ski Hut Trail." I'm surprised that Robinson ignored the trail in earlier editions, particularly since he describes it as "one of the most scenic and historic hikes in the San Gabriels" (hike # 93). And on the Saturday when I first hiked it, its popularity was evident--I stopped counting hikers after about a couple dozen, and there seemed to be dozens more. The log book for the day recorded 37 hikers when I checked it on my way out, and that did not include the three or four dogs I saw. This trail is the shortest and most direct route to the 10,064-foot Mt. San Antonio (popularly called Mount Baldy), unless you ride the ski lift up to Baldy Notch. But the hike for this day is only to the south ridge (9000'). I arose from bed at 4:20 A.M. and began the hike at 6:00. Turns out that my timing was great--going up, I had the trail to my self. The first mile is on a semi-paved service road that heads up to Baldy Notch. When I reached the trail junction, I had second thoughts about taking it up San Antonio Canyon. The skinny path climbing steeply up the loose rock slope was not inviting. I vacillated. Finally I decided to go with plan B and take the road to Baldy Notch. But after walking up the road 200 feet or so, my curiosity got the best of me. I turned around, retraced my steps, and started up the Ski Hut Trail. As I hiked several dominant thoughts occupied my mind: steep, breathtaking (both literally and figuratively), and I've got to do this hike again. One of the characteristics of the hike is that you can see your destination from the start, and often throughout the hike you see where you've been and where you're going. When I first spotted the Sierra Club Ski Hut as a little green spot way up the canyon, it was hard to believe I would be hiking to it, and to the steep ridge above. As views of the hut re-emerged throughout the ascent, it grew bigger and bigger. I finally arrived at the hut in one hour and 45 minutes from the start. Two solo hikers were a minute and a minute and a half behind me. Both were heading to the summit. My destination was Baldy's south ridge which traverses the west flank of San Antonio Canyon. So after spending a half hour at the ski hut, I proceeded the half mile more to the ridge. The views in route were stunning. Leaving the hut, the trail moves laterally across the boulder field at the base of Baldy's massive south face, called Baldy Bowl. I felt anxiety with only five shots left on my camera and so many incredible pictures to take. I definitely have to come here again. "Pure grandeur" replaced my thoughts of "steep trail" ... until I started up the east face of the ridge. The "trail" was steeper than reasonable, making me wonder why in the world they didn't build it right. It certainly appears that there is sufficient topography for a decent trail. After 23 minutes of climbing I reached my destination, the south ridge, which appears from the map to be around 9,000 feet at that juncture. The point at which the trial meets the ridge is board and graced with lodgepole pine and manzanita. As I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while sitting on the prominent rock that greets the ascending trail, a couple hikers reached the ridge, out of breath. We visited. They've both been on the trail multiple times. They continued on to the summit. I explored the area, taking in the various views. A dozen more hikers streamed up the final stretch to the ridge, reminding me of the 210 freeway during rush hour. Everyone I spoke with had been up the trail multiple times. They were all going to the top. Meanwhile the time to start my return trip was rapidly upon me. I experienced some anxiety as the grand summit summoned me up, and a date with a graduation ceremony called me down. At 9:52, exactly one hour after I arrived, I started down. My descent was slowed quite a bit because of stopping to visit with hikers on their way up. I continued to be surprised that almost all of them had been on this trail multiple times. It seemed I was the only first-timer on the mountain! After a while I stopped admitting it. Yet I shouldn't have been too surprised at the numbers of return visitors. As I had hiked the trail, I came to sense that this by no means would be my last time on this trail, God willing. A trail this splendid is worthy of repeating. And I decided that when I do finally make the trip to Mt. Baldy, it will be on this trail. I had previously planned to do it from Baldy Notch via the ski lift. But after experiencing this wonderful Ski Hut Trail, I know this will be the route. Maybe in the fall when the views are clear. Or maybe next week. The massive, rugged, majestic beauty of this mountain compels me to hike this trail again. After experiencing the splendor of this historic Ski Hut Trail, its steepness just doesn't matter any more.

Filed By: LaVonne (Placentia, CA)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: April 5, 2003 What a gorgeous day for a hike! I was so happy to see the gate open all of the way to Vincent Gap. I had been up the Angeles Crest Highway just a few short weeks ago and the gate was closed at Sleepy Hollow Visitor Center because of a rockslide in the road I was told and still snowy conditions. I have not hiked to Mt. Baden-Powell all winter long. So this was my chance. I was surprised to see some snow on the trail the first half mile of the hike, but nothing significant until the next half mile. The snow and the snowdrifts got higher along the trail and on the trail. The views were astronomically breathtaking of Mt. Baldy and the surrounding mountains. I was chugging along being elated to hike this day up to Mt. Baden-Powell when I noticed the snow getting harder to negotiate and the slope of the trail got steeper and the snow got harder and icy and the wind was picking up. I made it past a few tough slippery slopes when my first thoughts of "Oh, my God, this is dangerous. What if I slip and fall down this steep slope in the snow. I am at such an angle and the snow has ice under it and it is getting harder and harder to dig my boot into the snow for each step.." I have to wonder if crampons would have helped much here. But I made the dissappointing, but sane, decision to wait for another day to climb to the summit of Mt. Baden-Powell. As I sadly turned to retrace my steps after only a little over a mile of this most scenic hike, I know that for me it was the only thing to do at that point. I thanked Mt. Baden-Powell for letting me see the foot of the mountain in all of its winter glory. I would like to know if anyone has hiked to the top since the recent snows or if they make it up there this week or not. Be careful. There are many icy slopes on the trail in only the first mile.

More Information

Contact Information:
Angeles National Forest, 701 North Santa Anita Avenue , Arcadia, CA, 91006, Phone: 818-574-1613

Additional Information:
California National Forests & Parks - California's National Parks, Monuments and Forests cover lands from the Pacific Ocean to the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Los Angeles County - Los Angeles County stretches over 4,000 square miles, encompassing high deserts, sparkling beaches, snowy peaks, and meandering megalopolis.
Southern California -

Angeles National Forest - Official agency website


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