2014 was a big year for Angeles National Forest. President Barack Obama put aside huge portion of the Forest, 346,177 acres to be specific, to new San Gabriel Mountain National Monument! This will permanently ensure its sanctity for Angelenos. On the outskirts of this new Monument is a spectacular hiking spot that takes the Hoyt Mountain Road through the Grizzly Flats. Don’t worry, the name does not describe the current fauna you’ll see from the trail, but rather pays homage to the large furry creatures who roamed the Tujunga Valley a century ago. The last one was killed in 1919, you will all be fine.
What Makes It Great
The fire road takes you right from Angeles Crest Highway up a steep climb for almost a mile. After this initial ascent the rest of the road is a more gradual collection of ups and downs. Stay left past the first intersection and in 1.7 miles you will come to Grizzly Flats trail. You can take this left and gain more elevation or right to bring you down into the Tujunga Valley.
The entire trail is on an old fire road, so it is very easy for the hiker to stroll through the whole thing. There are also a few picnic benches, which offer a perfect spot for a mi-day meal while on the trail. The best spot to stop though is the little water tower (about 5 feet tall). Climb up the ladder that is there and enjoy the beautiful view from this little perch; this is also a great place to bring food.
Be watchful as you hike, the trail is not well maintained or documented, so it is possible to be led astray by some of the offshoot trails. The road surface has lots of ruts in it and large rocks strewn about. There are no trail signs to lead you once you leave the parking lot so be sure to remember the turns you took.
You’ll remember the feeling of remoteness you can get while hiking here with friends. It may be close to LA, but it definitely does not feel like it.
Who is Going to Love It
Great spot to take a casual hike, it will not tire you out, the trail is wide (remember its essentially a fire road so it is a nice place to be able to walk and talk). This is really a good trail for everyone to take, sometimes the trail service is a little bit uneven, so anyone with ankle problems may want to stay away.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Drive about six miles north of the 210 freeway on Angeles Crest Highway (Highway 2), and you’ll find the trailhead on the left hand side of the road (mile marker 30.02).
A National Forest Service Adventure Pass is still required to park here. You can pick one up at the Sports Chalet in La Canada. They charge you $5 for one day or $30 for the whole year. The trick is if you have some friends involved you can buy a second yearly pass for only $5 extra and switch them around your cars as needed.