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Gabrielino Trail (Santa Anita - West Fork - Arroyo Seco)
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HikeUp
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:39 pm    Post subject: Gabrielino Trail (Santa Anita - West Fork - Arroyo Seco)  Reply with quote

I'm interested in day hiking the Gabrielino Trail from Chantry Flat to JPL. The Wikipedia entry reports the mileage at 28.5 miles and the elevation gain at 3500'. A brief look at the map seems to indicate more along the lines of 4500' including the ups and downs.

Does anyone have first hand experience or know of anyone who has done this? Any links? Any recommendations? Thanks in advance.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting.  That's often done as a two or three day BP.  I've done all of those sections separately, but not as a day hike.  I'll bet you could do it if you got an early start on a nice long Spring day and travelled light and fast.

I haven't got any hard info not having it done it as a day hike, but the sections are something like this:
1.  Chantry to Newcomb Pass.  Pretty easy, goes along Big Santa Anita until approx. Sturdevant Camp and then ascends to Newcomb Saddle.  Water readily available along the way until you leave the canyon and start climbing to the pass.  Climb to Newcomb Saddle not too bad as I recall, but exposed (sun).  Bathrooms available (if you care) at several of the trail camps/pic nic spots.  There are emergency phones too, but not sure how well they work.
2.  Newcomb Saddle to Switzer.  Descent to W Fork SG River not bad.  Water dependable in river most years.  Head up river and then climb to Red Box.  Not too bad of a grade.  A lot of nice shade.  Descent from Red box isn't bad, although that section of the trail doesn't appear to get as much use as some of the other sections.  The trail from Red Box departs from the NW corner of the W Red Box parking lot.  Not too hard to find.  Water available once you hit the canyon bottom as you descend from Red Box.  Bathrooms available if you care at several of the trail camps, at Red Box, and at Switzers Pic Nic area.
3.  Switzer to JPL.  Plenty of water at Switzers as you descend through pic nic area to Switzer Falls area.  Don't take trail of course to go to base of falls, but stay right which stays high to avoid the "grand canyon" section of the Arroyo Seco.  No water here; quite exposed (sun).  Trail was pretty eroded in spots last time I was through here.  You eventually get back down toward the canyon bottom where water again is available.  From Oakwilde down, it's pretty straight forward.  Water readily available.  You do have some stream crossing which could be a bit wet depending on what kind of rain we get between now and when you take your hike.  You can exit at Altadena Drive if you want to cut it a little short or you can leave your car in the lot at the top of Windsor at the corner with I believe Ventura.  I prefer to leave my car on Altadena Dr. when I can since a) I avoid some of the dumb paved road and b) it can be a sitting duck in that lot.  WATCH OUT FOR PASADENA'S INFAMOUS PARKING RESTRICTIONS.

You'll need a car shuttle or something to get back to Chantry Flats -- unless you REALLY like walking.

Hope that helps.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks HJ. Your description agrees/confirms with how I have envisioned it. I was most uncertain with the upper part of the section from Switzer down to JPL.

Problem with starting at Chantry is that you can't get in until "sunrise", so I'll have to wait until sunrise is a bit earlier than it is now. I'm thinking a nice cool weekend day in late March or April. Then next year I can do it in reverse - JPL to Chantry!
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HikeUp wrote:
Your description agrees/confirms with how I have envisioned it. I was most uncertain with the upper part of the section from Switzer down to JPL.

That upper section above Oakwilde but below Switzer Falls is probably the least used section of the whole Gabrieleno trail.  A lot of people hike to the base of the falls, but very few take the rt. fork.  Coming from JPL, it's a long hike up to Switzer Falls that would require a car shuttle.  A lot of people just turn around at Oakwilde.  There aren't a lot of drop in points between JPL and Switzers.  Yes, there's the Gould Mesa drop in from ACH, but that doesn't save you much.  One can also enter/leave via dark canyon, but that's not an official trail and is a bit beyond what most people will do.  All that to say that upper stretch is the least used.  Like I say, it was passable but eroded.  Some parts of the trail were very sloped, where the uphill side of the trail tailed off quite a bit down to the downhill side of the trail.  Don't think it would be a big prob since you'd only have a day pack.

You may already have this map at home, but here's a good overview map:
http://www.caliberdt.com/~bill/May2004Hike/hikemap1.jpg
http://www.caliberdt.com/~bill/May2004Hike/hikemap2.jpg
The route is marked in purple.  Note that the route exits at Altadena Drive not the public trailhead parking lot.

MAJOR EXTRA CREDIT.  Smile  The yellow route is an optional way to avoid a car shuttle.  You walk along Altadena Drive until you get to the Eaton Canyon Nature Center entrance.  Go in, visit the Nature Center, then take the toll road to Henninger Flats and then to the top of Mt. Willson, descend the Sturdevant trail to return to Chantry Flats.   For serious overacheivers only.  Smile  


HikeUp wrote:
Problem with starting at Chantry is that you can't get in until "sunrise", so I'll have to wait until sunrise is a bit earlier than it is now. I'm thinking a nice cool weekend day in late March or April. Then next year I can do it in reverse - JPL to Chantry!

I wonder if the residents or the pack station ever get an exception re the gate.  They may not, but it might be worth chatting up the owner at the pack station.  Would be nice to start at first light on the trail.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is overnight camping allowed at Chantry? I know of the nearby trail camps like Hoegees and Spruce Grove, but I'm wondering if you can basically car camp at Chantry.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think you can camp at Chantry.  There are picnic tables but no camp sites.  You could call the Ranger Station and ask.  You could also just sleep in your car and see if anyone says anything.  Depending on your vehicle type and how low a profile you keep (don't use any lights), I bet you could get away with it.  

You could bypass the whole hassle if you do the route clockwise.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hikin_Jim wrote:
You could bypass the whole hassle if you do the route clockwise.


Assuming I finish before dark  Very Happy ! Don't want to be locked behind the gate.

I'll figure something out. Thanks for the input.
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you do it clockwise, you could do a "bike shuttle."  By "bike shuttle" I mean you position a bike in the Chantry Flats area, and then bicycle out when you finish your hike.  On a bike it should be a fairly easy ride to get back to your car, and the Chantry gate is one you can get a bike past fairly easily.  

You could bike all the way back to your car.  It's about 13 miles.  http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&a...mp;spn=0.025949,0.039568&z=15

Or you could just hike down the Chantry Flats Rd to a spot where you get cell phone reception and have someone pick you up at the gate.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey HikeUp. I did that hike a few weeks ago from jpl to chantry in one day. It's ez. I started at 6 and ended at 6. Got a ride back. YOU CAN DO IT.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HikeUp and I are planning on doing the Gabrielino Trail on Friday, April 25.  At the moment, the plan is to meet at the Windsor lot at about 5:30 and take a car to Chantry Flats, heading up when the gate opens at 6:00.  We would be happy to have more company.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't go Crying or Very sad I hike on Saturdays only.  Crying or Very sad  Crying or Very sad  Crying or Very sad You guys would probably hit me or something.  Hey AlanK, do you think Bear Flat to Baldy trail is ok to do now w/o snow stuff? crampons and ice axe? Please let me know. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I made some comments about snow conditions on the Baldy thread.  Basically, Bear Flat can probably be done without winter gear if you go late enough in the day.  Care is required above 9000' until you are about even with West Baldy.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 19, 2008 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks AlanK.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AlanK wrote:
HikeUp and I are planning on doing the Gabrielino Trail on Friday, April 25.  At the moment, the plan is to meet at the Windsor lot at about 5:30 and take a car to Chantry Flats, heading up when the gate opens at 6:00.  We would be happy to have more company.

One of the planners of this event got out of synch with the other one.  The bottom line is that the organizing committee decided to move the hike date from Friday, April 24 to Saturday, May 3.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ive been wanting to knock this trail off my list
i would have come along with you guys but i got
a job interview..if you can,would you take some pics
of the trail camps along the way.[devore,westfork,valley forge]

im curious to see at what time you guys arrive back to the car
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

friendowl wrote:
if you can,would you take some pics
of the trail camps along the way.[devore,westfork,valley forge]

Sure!  I love it when I get a request I can actually grant.  Cool
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AlanK. you little stinker. Did you change the date so it was on a Saturday just for me???? I might go. I would like to start really early though, like before 5 am. It's a long hike. If I do go I won't carry all the garb that I took last time I did it. I think my pack weighed over 35 lbs.  I know I can go a lot faster if my  time is too slow for you guys.  Remember I carried all my water (3 gallons) to prepare for that Rabbit Peak hike. That hike is just so far away and nobody I know wants to go with me. CHARLES YOU BUM.  Evil or Very Mad I KNOW YOU ARE READING THIS AND YOU LIVE SO CLOSE DOWN THERE. CALL ME UP AND LET'S GO! LOL. But AlanK, That would be a blast! How many people are already going? It took me from 6 am to 6 pm. It's so flat compared to Baldy or Iron or any of those other hikes. You gonna feel really funny walking up from JPL w/o any incline at all. The only part that seems like an incline is from devore to newcomb saddle and that really isn't that steep. It's just near the end and you be tired from crossing the stream a bunch of times. Do you think feet swell more than normal on hikes longer than 20 miles? Mine sure did.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AlanK wrote:
AlanK wrote:
HikeUp and I are planning on doing the Gabrielino Trail on Friday, April 25.  At the moment, the plan is to meet at the Windsor lot at about 5:30 and take a car to Chantry Flats, heading up when the gate opens at 6:00.  We would be happy to have more company.

One of the planners of this event got out of synch with the other one.  The bottom line is that the organizing committee decided to move the hike date from Friday, April 24 to Saturday, May 3.


sooooo? What does the organizing committee think about all the FIRE and SMOKE? hmmmmmmmm? I can only speak for myself but I do not like smoking cigars while hiking. Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FIGHT ON wrote:
What does the organizing committee think about all the FIRE and SMOKE? hmmmmmmmm? I can only speak for myself but I do not like smoking cigars while hiking. Crying or Very sad

The organizers have decided to pull the plug on this Saturday's hike.  Sad
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well there are "other" places ya know. Just pull out that old map, close your eyes, take that finger and start to hover over the map in circles and repeat after me. ROUND AND ROUND SHE GOES, WHERE SHE STOPS, NOBODY KNOWS.  and plant your finger on it. Open your eyes and low and behold! THAT'S THE NEW HIKE FOR SATURDAY! Smile
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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2008 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tempting.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 6:57 am    Post subject: It's still there! Reply with quote

I looked on the map and sure enough the Gabrielino Trail is still there!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 2:34 pm    Post subject: Gabrelino Trail Reply with quote

Does anyone know the conditions between Red Box and JPL on the Gabrelino trail?

Does anyone know if the parking area is open up there?

How about ACH to that spot?

I know we have more snow coming and would greatly appreciate new information on Thursday after this storm is past?

Thanks

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 9:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Patrick - you plan on hitting Gabrielino on Friday or Saturday?  I just inherited my neice and nephew through January 3rd, but I'd like to go.  I got your email this afternoon, but didn't read it.  It came in as my machine was shutting down.  My neice and nephew are old enough to stay by themselves for half a day so chances are good I can make it.  Send me a PM.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was on the portion from ~ switzers to Oakwilde, it is in good condition. flowing water you'll have walk on rocks across the creek a few times.
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Location: Now I have a quote under my name, Taco.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The parking lot at Red Box is open - I was just there on Sunday.  BUT - you need to get there early (before 9am I'd say) because it completely fills up with snow looky-loos.

Snow shouldn't be a problem on the trail.  The road may be closed or require chains on Thursday or Friday, but I would bet by the weekend it will be fine.

Just somewhat educated guesses...

It's a great hike though.  Beautiful canyons.

Frankly, I'd start at Switzer's instead of Red Box - there's not too much of interest between Red Box and Switzers.  Same advice about getting there early to get a parking spot applies..
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2008 3:58 pm    Post subject: Cougar Magic Reply with quote

Is the Parking Area at Switzer open this time of year? Like it is at Red Box?

I don't get that way much. Other than doing the whole Gabrielino Trail last year and from South of Big Bear all the way to Miller crossing over the Winter of 2006 on the PCT, I've just been busy doing other hikes.

Since one of the group got sick 10 miles in last year and I had to climb the wall of a canyon to get help from Conservation Group to take him out (just south of Red Box by about a mile) it cost us so much time we did the last 5 miles in the dark, so I'm looking forward to getting a much better look at the area below Switzer Falls, Oakwilde, Paul Little - nothing worse than having to rush to finish in the dark.

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Location: Now I have a quote under my name, Taco.

PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes - the Switzer parking area is open all year.  There is a gate at the top of the road that goes down there - it is supposed to be open at 8am, but sometimes the rangers aren't too timely....if for some reason you can't drive down to the trailhead, you can park at the top and it's a short walk down the road to start the hike.

My personal favorite is to have a car shuttle set up and exit up the Gould Mesa fire road, rather than going all the way down to JPL.  That lower stretch is nice, but it's more of a walk in a park (along with lots of people, kids, bikes, dogs, horses, etc.)  than a hike.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes they do close the Switzer's gate if it gets really busy.  I personally find that walking back up that hill from the picnic area to ACH to be a pain in the butt after a long hike (assuming my route ends at Switzers), but sometimes it's hard to avoid.

Gould Mesa is a good exit.  There's a bit of a swimming hole near the camp, which can be refreshing on a hot day.  The Gould Mesa exit is a bit painful on a hot day (exposed).  On a hotter day, I might walk all the way out to one of the lower exits rather than climb up from Gould Mesa to Angeles Crest Hwy.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:17 pm    Post subject: Gabrielino Trail (Santa Anita - West Fork - Arroyo Seco) Reply with quote

I know the trail is officially closed, but has anyone been on this section recently and can tell us the condition? Anyone ever done this then the Rim trail to Wilson?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do a search for Newcombs or Rim Trail...I vaguely remember a fairly recent discussion about these trails.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The trail is closed, so no one on this law abiding-board has been on it recently.   Razz

I do miss it.  Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip / found the thread ....    Looks like the trail may be a bit sketchy,
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to know you have not gone to the dark side, Alan!  Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HikeUp wrote:
Good to know you have not gone to the dark side, Alan!  Laughing

You mean by not bringing up past controversies involving an obsessive individual accusing the good folks here of being guilty of a wide variety of what he took to be crimes?   Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2011 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll drink (coffee) to that.  Wink

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:08 am    Post subject: Middle Arroyo Seco Reply with quote

Anyone unofficially ventured into the middle Arroyo (north of Gould Mesa to Switzers)?  I imagine it's pretty torn up.  Unofficial details?
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Location: Now I have a quote under my name, Taco.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Haven't been there in quite a while (and that's the truth!).  I imagine, based on what it looks like in other streambed areas, that the sand has cleared out of the watercourse, and weedy plant growth is thick along the banks.  It probably looks more like it used to pre-fire, but with less shade and no trail.  I know the trail up around the dam is blown out completely.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:56 am    Post subject: thanks Coug Reply with quote

Didn't know about the trail that climbs past the dam.  Been some time sice I was through that middle section. Beautiful area.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:29 pm    Post subject: Gabrielino Trail (Arroyo Seco) Reply with quote

I called the ANF office last week and I was told the gabrielino trail is completely open except at a point between Paul little picnic area and oakwild campground. I assume the closure is near the debris dam where the trail rises up and then descends along the Cliffside. Does anyone have information about why it is closed only there. A landslide could have made the trail impassable.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2012 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is probably the case, Rudy. That section of trail has been a problem since 1942.

I wish they had the cash to remove Brown Mountain Debris Dam. It serves no purpose anymore.

Logistically it wouldn't be difficult - just run a D-9 Cat down the old Dark Canyon road to make way for an excavator and some super 10's. Mother Nature would scour it out and start replanting it right away.

They could restore the old trail from Pasadena to Oakwilde, and restore the Dark Canyon Access road to Oakwilde Campground in order to rebuild/maintain it.

I guess it was more important to rebuild a perfectly good Supervisor's Office.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rudy, I thought it was closed from Paul Little, all the way up to where the trail splits off up near Switzer Falls.  I can tell you for sure that the trail around the dam is messed up pretty bad, and the trail upstream from Oakwilde camp is pretty much gone, as it was just a small ledge carved out of the canyon wall anyway - many sections washed away completely, and the rest of it buried in a slope of eroded dirt.

Passable - yes, but you'll be walking in the creekbed, not on a trail.

If it is actually fixed up between Switzer and Oakwilde, please let me know.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PackerGreg wrote:


I guess it was more important to rebuild a perfectly good Supervisor's Office.



FudgePackerGreg,

The Supervisor's office was a shithole, basically a bunch of trailers and manufactured type buildings probably built before you were even in diapers. It was falling apart.

And you can relax your sphincter, the money for the building was basically a federal grant, and did not come out of the budget for the forest.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2012 9:31 pm    Post subject: Paul Little to Oakwilde Reply with quote

I run the lower Arroyo to the debris dam a lot.  I was there two days ago.
I poked around a bit at the trail junction to get over the dam (at Paul Little) and the trail is pretty much non-existent.  The whole area has been covered by fallen rock, dirt, and vegetation.

Now you can see some of the trail WAY above on the hillside, but it looks a bit sketchy to me.  Who knows what it's like up higher.

I wouldn't count on it being passable unless you're looking for ADVENTURE.
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Location: Cedar Mesa

PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PackerGreg wrote:
That is probably the case, Rudy. That section of trail has been a problem since 1942.

I wish they had the cash to remove Brown Mountain Debris Dam. It serves no purpose anymore.

Logistically it wouldn't be difficult - just run a D-9 Cat down the old Dark Canyon road to make way for an excavator and some super 10's. Mother Nature would scour it out and start replanting it right away.

They could restore the old trail from Pasadena to Oakwilde, and restore the Dark Canyon Access road to Oakwilde Campground in order to rebuild/maintain it.

I guess it was more important to rebuild a perfectly good Supervisor's Office.


Does the Forest Service "own" the Brown Mountain Debris Dam or is it LADPW or someone else? I agree that it would be great to remove it. Just not sure it is up to the FS budget to pay for it.

Either way, I don't see what renovating the Supervisor's Office has nothing to do with the debris dam. I think it is important for FS employees and the public to have a healthy and safe office to work in and/or visit.
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We hiked up gabrielino to Paul Little and the debris dam last Saturday. I was curious if it might still be possible to get up to Oakwilde and then Royal Gorge. At Paul Little, its a little hard to tell where the Gabrielino trail was. I mean, you see where it should go up the ridge, but its not there and you pretty much have to bushwhack. Past the dam along the creek is pretty rough too.

Has anyone made it to royal gorge recently? I heard gabrielino from Switzer is not great, and Burton trail is impassable too since the station fire.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:09 pm    Post subject: Teardown the dam Reply with quote

Someone should try to get the Forest Service to fix the fire damaged Gabrielino Trial closure from Little Paul picnic area to Switzer junction. This trail is supported by the US National Trail system and should have all means to get that done. This section of trail is heavily used from JPL up to the Debris Dam where is stops because of a Dam constructed by the USFS in 1942 that block all access. I understand that the trail once passed the dam by a east side route but is now missing. The natural state of the river would benefit with the dam removed. The Station Fire really did a lot of damaged to the Arroyo river area that providing access will restore the enjoyment it once had.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi I've hiked from Switzers through to Gould Mesa and the CCC Ridge Road via Angeles Crest Highway down to Oakwilde recently and everything is in terrible shape. The remains of the Oakwilde campground are extremely difficult to find and now are basically an archeological dig  Crying or Very sad with just the top of the bench and stove pipe visible. The trail where it splits off from the Switzers Falls area says closed but is decent for a mile or so until you get to the bottom and then it's lots of bushwhacking and boulder hopping. I agree the Dam near Paul Little picnic area needs to go. Maybe we could try and start a petition?

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Location: Now I have a quote under my name, Taco.

PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Herp.  Did you see any wildlife?  I'm interested to know how things are 'recovering' in there.  Royal Gorge used to be a favorite spot to find (mammal) tracks and sign.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi cougarmagic I did see some suspicious tracks and poop yes but I also saw deer there. Awhile back like last year I saw a deer carcass all torn apart by something either coyotes or a cougar.
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