Hooray for the Department of the Interior! In 2014, with the help of President Obama, the DOI put aside 346,177 acres of land with the Angeles National Forest to make up the new San Gabriel Mountain National Monument. The Devils Canyon Hike is right in the middle of this space, near crest of the mountain range itself, specifically within the section of the forest known previously as the San Gabriel National Wilderness.
What Makes It Great
This hike is a bit strange for the hiker’s psyche. The hiker brain is used to warming up on the uphill, as most hikes start at the bottom and work their way to a peak. For this hike, you begin on the Angeles Crest Highway, and work your way down into Devils Canyon. While the immediate downhill is a bit of a shocker, the views you get right form the start make up for it. The hike begins with a series of switchbacks that send you down into this beautiful valley. The scree on the trail can be a bit loose so be careful here.
The trail follows the switchbacks to the valley floor below for a few miles. Take it for three miles and then turn around. Unfortunately there is no good loop, only an out and back section. That being said, the terrain you will be exploring is interesting and exciting and allows for an interesting contemplative due to its remoteness. This is still a great choice for a nice quick hike that still gives you time to explore other parts of the area, or get a campsite set up if you arrive late in the day.
The trailhead is a stones throw (a few miles either way) from both the Chilao campground to the south, and the Buckhorn Campground to the north so this is a great spot to stop before setting up for the night.
Who is Going to Love It
You need to be able to walk on a fairly steep incline, so if you have some knee issues, this may not be the spot for you. If your knees are in proper form, this is an awesome hike that gets you into some remote spots without much muss or fuss.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
This hike is very easy to get to with great parking. Just like all other spots in the region, make sure to leave a National Forest Adventure Pass in your car when you leave it on the side of road, even if it is in a parking lot. To get to the trailhead from LA, take the 210 Freeway to the exit for Route 2 and Angeles Crest Highway. Take this up the hill (away from the gas station and all civilization). In about 26 miles there will be a parking on the lot on the left with an outhouse where you can leave your car.