Los Angeles Hikes

The San Gabriel Mountains

Above Photo from Mt. Baldy Summit, the highest Los Angeles peak.

General Info:

The San Gabriel Mountains are the largest mountain range in the LA county. The mountain range is an amazing 60 miles stretching from the Interstate 15 freeway to the 5 freeway in Santa Clarita. The highest peak in Los Angeles, Mt. Baldy is from this mountain range. This mountain range also features hiking trails that visit seasonal waterfalls, amazing canyons and abandoned structures from a forgotten time. Below is a list of hikes we’ve covered in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Hikes We’ve Covered From This Range:

Hike NameMileageDifficultyElevationParking AreaDogs?
Big Horn Mine4Easy65034.373282, -117.751945Y
Brown Mountain Dam Waterfall6Moderate45034.222895, -118.190754
Y
Dawn Mine6Moderate140034.216280, -118.146242
Y
Eaton Canyon Waterfall3.6Easy48834.178103, -118.096598
Y
Elsmere Canyon Waterfall3Moderate90034.364524, -118.501288
Y
Fish Canyon Falls5Moderate84034.156518, -117.924129
Y
Ice House Canyon to Ice House Saddle8Difficult260034.250213, -117.636732
Y
Little Jimmy Campground4.2Moderate78034.357092, -117.851096
Y
Millard Canyon Waterfall1Easy10034.216280, -118.146242
Y
Monkey Canyon2.2Moderate80034.307226, -118.145651
N
Mount Islip7Difficult160034.357092, -117.851096
Y
tThe Enchanted ForesN/AN/AN/A34.204035, -118.130684
Y
The Bridge To Nowhere10Long but not Difficult65034.236895, -117.765313
Y
Trail Canyon Falls4Moderate70034.303767, -118.258153Y
The Big Tujunga Tunnel #11Easy5034.295392, -118.241446
Y

Short History of The San Gabriel’s:

These mountains are rich in history first dating back to native American settlement. Then in the 1850’s the first discovery of California gold was found in these mountains in Placerita Canyon (Santa Clarita). From there, the gold rush boom changed the mountain range forever. Now the mountain range is home to dozens of abandoned gold mines which were part of this gold boom. For example, The Dawn Mine.

In more recent news, this range was turned into a National Monument by President Obama in 2009. Thus making mining or any removal of rocks in the range illegal.

Abandoned Places and Disasters of the San Gabriel’s:

A series of disastrous events have caused abandoned structures and mines to be left stranded in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Floods:

Most famously known is The Bridge To Nowhere, which was a mountain project abandoned due to the flood of 1938. Now hikers from all over flock to hike to the bridge, a 10 mile journey.

The Bridge to Nowhere

Fires:

The most famous San Gabriel Mountain wildfire was the 2009 Station Fire. This fire destroyed many camps, homes and hiking trails. Most hiking trails closed by this fire have been reopened to the public by the end of 2016.

Abandoned Building from the 2009 Station Fire.

Abandoned Mines:

Because the mines of the day were ultimately not profitable, most mines have been abandoned. Many can still be found in the mountains today.

An abandoned mine near the East Fork River.

Important roads of the San Gabriel’s:

Usually getting to all these hikes will require some travel on the 210 Freeway.

There are two types of hiking areas in this range. “Foothill hikes” and “Hikes deeper in the mountains”.

  • San Gabriel “foothill hikes” are those hikes which can be accessed from where the mountain starts. These hikes usually start in residential areas and make their way up the foothills of the mountain.
  • Secondly, there are the “Hikes deeper in the mountains”. In order to get to these one has to drive on roads which go through the mountain. I have found 4 very useful roads in order to get to the hikes deeper in this range.
  1. Angeles Crest Highway (HWY 2)
  2. San Gabriel Canyon Rd. (HWY 39)
  3. Big Tujunga Canyon Rd.
  4. Mt. Baldy Rd.

All of these roads are LA’s closest options and are accessible from the 210 freeway.