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David R

Mt Lukens Loop

This Sunday I woke up late as usual and decided to finally check out the Grizzly Flats trail that has been opened for a while. This trail was problematic prior to the Station fire so I had never really thought about using it. Since its rework, its been on my list as it is one of the few trails that I've never been on in this area.

I started going up the Stone Canyon trail which is still pretty beaten up after the fire. Lots of narrow spots, trail slumping, and plenty of vegetation. Surprisingly a lot of that vegetation is poison oak so watch out when you have to push through the brush. This trail was always a bit rough but it now is a real effort to use it, not much fun. Due to the trail the pace was much slower then I'm used to and it took two hours to reach the top. The day was getting warm but fortunately all the major climbing was completed.

I started trotting down the good fire road towards ACH passing the turn-off for the trail coming up from Deukmajian Park. After about an hour of winding along the ridge, the Grizzly Flats fireroad makes its presence known to the left. This fireroad is in much worse shape and is typically a footpath as you start to get views of the Flats. After much descending and turns you get to the saddle where the Dark Canyon trail meets up with the fireroad. There was a lot of plants blooming here and I completely missed the turnoff, instead going 100 yards further before realizing I had passed the old fireroad down to the Flats proper. This turnoff from this direction is easy to miss as it makes a sharp left downwards. About 45 minutes after I left the main fireroad I was in Grizzly Flats or what is left of it. The only semblance of a nice inviting spot is at the very end of the road where some oak trees survived the fire.

The trail down to Big Tujunga starts at this spot heading straight with a ribbon telling you you're on the right track. The onset goes through a poison oak forest until you make a sharp left to get around a couple of tributaries of Vasquez Creek. This is the nicest most shaded part of the entire hike. Unfortunately before you know it you're on dry slopes slowly making your way down a ridge next to Silver Canyon. This part of the trail is more like a gully for runoff and is covered with loose rocks. The drop down to Big Tujunga is pretty short with minimal elevation loss. From here you get to follow the canyon floor for a mile or so until you get to Stonyvale and all the picnickers. If it wasn't for the heat this section would have also been quite pleasant as you hop across the creek multiple times. This section of trail was excellent with the only indistinct portion coming into play when you connect from the trail near Silver to the main canyon. From the picnic area its another mile or so along the road and back to your car at the Stone Canyon trailhead.

A nice loop of about 14 miles with 3,200 feet elevation gain in about 4 hours and 40 minutes.
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