A breathtaking trail offering scenic views of the San Gabriel Mountains and ending at a tranquil river.
- There is a large selection of coffee shops in La Cañada Flintridge (the city before entering the Angeles Forest via Angeles Crest Highway) off Foothill Boulevard. While taking the off ramp to the Angeles Crest Highway, instead of taking the left to the mountains you can go right and Foothill Boulevard is the next light down. Depending on what you're looking for, here are a few I enjoy before my adventures:
- Consider taking the 134 East to the CA 2 North in order to avoid any and all congestion that occurs downtown. Once you're on the CA 2 North, you'll merge onto 210 East / CA 2 and take the first exit directing towards the Angeles Crest Highway. After passing the Angeles Forest entrance, you'll continue up towards Mount Wilson and take a right on Mount Wilson Red Box Road. There's a small informational hut along with some restrooms, if needed. Keep driving down the road until you see the turnout called Eaton Saddle with space on both sides of the road for you to park. Be aware there are a few turnouts that are unmarked prior to Eaton Saddle; however, Eaton Saddle is the one that has an information board located on the west side of the street in case you're having a difficult time locating the turnoff.
- NOTE: You need a Southern California "Adventure Pass" to park. If you do not have one, you'll need to continue driving down Mount Wilson Red Box Road until you reach the Mount Wilson Observatory. You can purchase a pass for $5 at the Cosmic Cafe near the observatory. If you're planning to hike in the Angeles Forest quite a bit, consider purchasing the annual pass for $30. Either works depending on the amount of activity you plan to do within the year. However, be sure to check the Angeles Designated Recreation Sites list in case the parking requirements change at a later date.
- Begin your hike at the Eaton Saddle turnoff. The trail entrance will be on the east side of Mount Wilson Red Box Road and to the north of the parking section.
- A sign listing three trails is posted and you'll want to continue walking forward towards Valley Forge Trail No. 12W09 and the entrance will be immediately on your right once you see the sign. You'll continue down this path for the next 2.5 miles with a hand full of switchbacks leading you from direct sun to heavy shade.
- The reason for the trail being labeled a "4" difficulty is the first half of your trip is downhill and your return is entirely uphill. Keep this in mind with the amount of food and water you have on hand. Once you pass the M12 marker, you'll be coming up to the T junction with Gabrieleno Trail.
- If you go left on the trail you'll come to the West Fork San Gabriel River and depending on the amount of snow or rainfall in the area, the river could be substantial. It's a great place to relax before heading back up to Eaton Saddle or continuing on the Gabrieleno Trail to the Red Box Station.