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. This piece will get your heart pumping and will set you up for the rest of the run. After this initial ascent the rest of the road is a more gradual collection of ups and downs. The serious trail runner will love the lack of crowds and the distance you can take this if you like. 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.
Be careful while running on this trail because it is not well maintained or documented. 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. If you are a savvy runner and outdoors-person this is great place for you.
The trail begins with a long climb so if you are one who needs to limber up before you begin to sweat, I would recommend using the CC ridge Road as a quick warmup. 500 feet south along Angeles Crest Highway you will this flat dead end dirt road that will take you to a pleasant vista only a half mile from the road.
Who is Going to Love It
The runner looking for a strenuous and visually stimulating fire road run with little to no crowds will love this spot. If you are a savvy runner and outdoors-person this is great place for you. If you want to find an escape from the city of LA without travelling very far, this run will stick with you because it feels so remote but is so close to the city. You’ll also like the views and the huge Pine trees, but that goes without saying.
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.