San Gabriel Wilderness

Last updated
San Gabriel Wilderness
San Gabriel Mountain Wilderness.jpg
Looking into the San Gabriel Wilderness with the San Gabriel Valley in the distance
Usa edcp relief location map.png
Red pog.svg
Map of the United States
Location Los Angeles County, California, United States
Nearest city Pasadena, California
Coordinates 34°14′48″N117°59′08″W / 34.24667°N 117.98556°W / 34.24667; -117.98556 Coordinates: 34°14′48″N117°59′08″W / 34.24667°N 117.98556°W / 34.24667; -117.98556
Area36,118 acres (146.16 km2)
Governing body U.S. Forest Service

The San Gabriel Wilderness is a wilderness area created in 1968 of more than 36,118 acres (150 km2) within the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.


The area lies on the southern slopes of the San Gabriel Mountains, between the Angeles Crest and the West Fork of the San Gabriel River. [1]

The area was originally set aside as the Devils Canyon-Bear Canyon Primitive Area of 35,000 acres (140 km2). [2]

The San Gabriel Mountains were first preserved by the federal government in 1892 as the San Gabriel Timberland Reserve, established by U.S. President Benjamin Harrison and influenced by California conservationists, Abbot Kinney and John Muir. This forest reserve would later become part of the Angeles National Forest in which the San Gabriel Wilderness is now located.


Permits are not required to enter the San Gabriel wilderness.

Access trails

The following trails provide access:

Hiking Trails within the Wilderness Area

San Gabriel Designated Wilderness Boundary at Smith Mountain Saddle. FredricRiceDW.jpg
San Gabriel Designated Wilderness Boundary at Smith Mountain Saddle.

Hiking trails in the Designated Wilderness are built and maintained utilizing hand tools and materials which are strictly limited in terms of environmental impact. The use of chainsaws to remove trees that are down across trails is prohibited, requiring the use of crosscut saws, block-and-tackle chains and ropes to pull trees off of trails, griphoists, and other mechanical tools which do not produce noise or petroleum-based pollutants.

In addition, wheeled tools and equipment are not permitted to be used in the Designated Wilderness, neither for trail maintenance nor for recreation, causing the wilderness to be classified for pedestrian and equestrian use only with mountain biking prohibited. Blasting to remove rock outcrops is prohibited, as is the use of fire-fighting tools like tractors, Phos-Chek air drops, Tovex Firebreak II explosives, and chainsaws to cut fire lines. Everything must be done by hand, even when fighting fires within the Designated Wilderness.

The people who maintain hiking trails within the San Gabriel Designated Wilderness attempt to achieve a passable hiking experience within the wilderness that does not appear to be too greatly unnatural. To achieve such an effect, tree limbs and branches that must be cut back are finished with an effort to appear natural, bucked tree trunks that are removed from the trail are relocated so that they appear at a distance and do not look to have been cut by people, and even sawdust from crosscut saws will be collected and buried off of the trail.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

San Gabriel Mountains Mountain range of the Transverse Ranges in California, United States

The San Gabriel Mountains are a mountain range located in northern Los Angeles County and western San Bernardino County, California, United States. The mountain range is part of the Transverse Ranges and lies between the Los Angeles Basin and the Mojave Desert, with Interstate 5 to the west and Interstate 15 to the east. The range lies in, and is surrounded by, the Angeles and San Bernardino National Forests, with the San Andreas Fault as its northern border.

Angeles National Forest National forest in California, United States

The Angeles National Forest (ANF) of the U.S. Forest Service is located in the San Gabriel Mountains and Sierra Pelona Mountains, primarily within Los Angeles County in southern California. The ANF manages a majority of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

Mount San Antonio Mountain in Los Angeles County, California, United States

Mount San Antonio, commonly referred to as Mount Baldy or Old Baldy, is a 10,066 feet (3,068 m) summit in the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, California. Lying within the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and Angeles National Forest, it is the high point of the range, the county, and the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Mount San Antonio's sometimes snow-capped peaks are visible on clear days and dominate the view of the Los Angeles Basin skyline. The summit and a subsidiary peak to the west form a double-peaked high point of a steep-sided east-west ridge. The summit is accessible via a number of connecting ridges along hiking trails from the north, east, south and southwest.

Cleveland National Forest Southernmost National forest of California

Cleveland National Forest encompasses 460,000 acres, mostly of chaparral, with a few riparian areas. A warm dry mediterranean climate prevails over the forest. It is the southernmost U.S. National Forest of California. It is administered by the U.S. Forest Service, a government agency within the United States Department of Agriculture. It is divided into the Descanso, Palomar and Trabuco Ranger Districts and is located in the counties of San Diego, Riverside, and Orange.

Powderhorn Wilderness Protected area in southwestern Colorado, US

The Powderhorn Wilderness is a 62,050-acre (251.1 km2) wilderness area in Hinsdale and Gunnison Counties, Colorado, USA, located 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of Lake City. Most of the northern part of the area, 48,115 acres (194.71 km2), about 77.5%, is located on Bureau of Land Management land and its southern portion, 13,935 acres (56.39 km2), about 22.5%, is located within the Gunnison National Forest. Elevations in the wilderness range from 8,500 feet (2,600 m) at the West Fork Powderhorn Creek to 12,661 feet (3,859 m) at the summit of Calf Creek Plateau.

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is a regional park in King County, Washington, near the towns of Bellevue and Issaquah. The park was established in June 1983 to protect the central core of Cougar Mountain, the park covers 3,115 acres (12.61 km2) with 38 miles (61 km) of hiking trails and 12 miles (19 km) of equestrian trails.

Hells Canyon Wilderness (Oregon and Idaho)

The Hells Canyon Wilderness is a wilderness area in the western United States, in Idaho and Oregon. Created 46 years ago in 1975, the Wilderness is managed by both the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service and contains some of the most spectacular sections of the Snake River as it winds its way through Hells Canyon, North America's deepest river gorge and one of the deepest gorges on Earth. The Oregon Wilderness Act of 1984 added additional acreage and currently the area protects a total area of 217,927 acres (88,192 ha). It lies entirely within the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area except for a small 946-acre (383 ha) plot in southeastern Wallowa County, Oregon which is administered by the Bureau of Land Management. The area that is administered by the Forest Service consists of portions of the Wallowa, Nez Perce, Payette, and Whitman National Forests.

The Crystal Lake Recreation Area is located in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California, administered by the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument of the United States Forest Service. The Recreation Area consists of a small lake, an open-air amphitheater, a large public campground containing approximately 120 camp sites grouped into "loops," and a group campground called Deer Flats which consists of approximately 25 camp sites. The Recreation Area contains a United States Forest Service visitor center and a cafe which is open to the public from dawn to dusk except for Tuesdays when the cafe is closed. Within the Recreation Area are 16 hiking and nature trails which are well-maintained by volunteers who work under the direction of the Forest Service. The Recreation Area is located approximately 26 miles (42 km) north on Hwy. 39 heading out of Azusa, California at the headwaters of the north fork of the San Gabriel River at an elevation approximately 5,539 feet above sea level. Crystal Lake is the only naturally occurring lake in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Silver Moccasin Trail

The Silver Moccasin Trail is a 53-mile (85 km) trail located in the San Gabriel Mountains, northeast of Los Angeles. It begins at Chantry Flat Recreation Area above the city of Arcadia, California, traversing upward and down through several canyons and along the high ridges of the Angeles National Forest. This trail connects Mt. Baden-Powell, Mount Burnham, Throop Peak and Mount Hawkins. It comes to its highest point of 9,399 feet (2,865 m) at Mount Baden-Powell after which point it descends to its terminus at Vincent Gap on the Angeles Crest Highway near Wrightwood.

Weminuche Wilderness Protected area in southwestern Colorado, US

The Weminuche Wilderness is a wilderness area in southwest Colorado managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the San Juan National Forest on the west side of the Continental Divide and the Rio Grande National Forest on the east side of the divide. The Weminuche Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1975, and expanded by the Colorado Wilderness Acts of 1980 and 1993. It is located 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of the town of Silverton, 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Durango, and 8 miles (13 km) west of South Fork. At 499,771 acres (2,022.50 km2), it is the largest wilderness area in the state of Colorado. Elevation in the wilderness ranges from 7,700 feet (2,300 m) along the Animas River to 14,093 feet (4,296 m) at the summit of Windom Peak.

Miller Peak (Arizona) Mountain in Cochise County, Arizona

Miller Peak, at 9,470 feet (2,886 m), is the second-highest mountain in Cochise County, Arizona. Located approximately 10 miles south of Sierra Vista, Arizona, it is the highest mountain in the Huachuca mountain range and a popular local hiking destination. The Miller Peak Wilderness encompasses 20,190 acres and is managed by the Coronado National Forest. This is also the most southerly peak and land area to rise above 9,000 feet in the continental United States. The area was affected by the 2011 Monument fire and most of the pine trees seen in older photographs were burned and destroyed. Scrub oak are beginning to replace the areas that were previously covered by pine.

Bridge to Nowhere (San Gabriel Mountains) Bridge in Southern California, United States

The Bridge to Nowhere is an arch bridge that was built in 1936 north of Azusa, California in the San Gabriel Mountains. It spans the East Fork of the San Gabriel River and was meant to be part of a road connecting the San Gabriel Valley with Wrightwood.

Sycamore Canyon (Yavapai County, Arizona) Scenic canyon in Yavapi County, Arizona

Sycamore Canyon is the second largest canyon in the Arizona redrock country, after Oak Creek Canyon. The 21-mile (34 km) long scenic canyon reaches a maximum width of about 7 miles (11 km). It is in North Central Arizona bordering and below the Mogollon Rim, and is located west and northwest of Sedona in Yavapai and Coconino counties.

Monarch Wilderness Protected wilderness area in California, United States

The Monarch Wilderness is a federally designated wilderness area located 70 miles east of Fresno, California, in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It encompasses 44,896 acres (181.69 km2) within both the Sequoia National Forest and the Sierra National Forest and is managed by the United States Forest Service. Elevations range from 950 feet (290 m) to 11,081 ft (3,377 m).

Ochoco Mountains

The Ochoco Mountains are a mountain range in central Oregon in the United States, located at the western end of the Blue Mountains. They were formed when Permian, Triassic, and Jurassic rocks were slowly uplifted by volcanic eruptions to form the Clarno Formation. Today, the highest point in the range is Lookout Mountain. The dominant vegetation on the west side of the range is old-growth ponderosa pine; on the east side, western juniper is common. The western area of the mountains is administered by the Ochoco National Forest, while the southeastern section is part of the Malheur National Forest. The Ochoco Mountains are used for hiking, camping, bird watching, rockhounding, and hunting, as well as cross-country skiing in the winter.

Rich Hole Wilderness

Rich Hole Wilderness is a designated wilderness area in the James River Ranger District of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests of Virginia in the United States. The wilderness area was established in 1988 and comprises 6,450 acres (26.1 km2). It is administered by the US Forest Service.

White Mountain Wilderness

The White Mountain Wilderness is a 46,963 acre designated wilderness area managed by the United States Forest Service. Located in the Smokey Bear Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest, the White Mountain Wilderness lies in the Sierra Blanca mountains of south central New Mexico, approximately 15 miles (24 km) north northwest of the town of Ruidoso.

San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders

The San Gabriel Mountains Trailbuilders (SGMTBs) is a 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer organization which performs hiking and nature trail building and maintenance within the Los Angeles Gateway District of the United States Forest Service which maintains the Angeles National Forest within the San Gabriel Mountains.

Cannibal Plateau

Cannibal Plateau is a summit in Hinsdale County, Colorado in the United States. The broad 12,533-foot (3,820 m) mountain is located in the San Juan Mountains and within the Powderhorn Wilderness, a protected area managed by the Bureau of Land Management Gunnison Field Office and the Gunnison National Forest.

James River Face Wilderness

The James River Face Wilderness is an 8,907-acre area located near Natural Bridge, Virginia that is protected by the Eastern Wilderness Act of Congress to maintain its present, natural condition. As part of the National Wilderness Preservation System, it helps to preserve a variety of natural life forms and contributes to a diversity of plant and animal gene pools. Over half of the ecosystems in the United States exist within designated wilderness.


  1. " San Gabriel Wilderness" . Retrieved 2007-12-24.
  2. Godfrey, Anthony The Ever-Changing View-A History of the National Forests in California USDA Forest Service Publishers, 2005 p.445 ISBN   1-59351-428-X