DescriptionRising above the northern rim of the Los Angeles Basin, the Angeles National Forest covers more than 650,000 acres of the rugged San Gabriel Mountains, which in 1894 famed naturalist John Muir described as “one vast bee-pasture, a rolling wilderness of honey-bloom…” The forest encompasses terrain ranging from rugged, arid desert on the north slope to heavily timbered high mountain ridges and meadows.
In October 2014 President Obama established the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, protecting 346,177 acres of the forest.
Year-round recreation takes place in these mountains. The forest, which includes the San Gabriel Wilderness, the Sheep Mountain Wilderness, Magic Mountain Wilderness, Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness and the Cucamonga Wilderness has more than 60 drive-up, group and hike-in campgrounds, 33 picnic areas, and hiking trails for all levels of experience. During the summer two major areas—Chilao and Big Pines—offer videos, nature walks and other interpretive programs. Visitor centers are available at both areas as well as in Wrightwood, Mt. Baldy and Azusa.
The major thoroughfare through the forest is the Angeles Crest Highway (SR 2)—one of the finest scenic drives in Southern California—spanning 64 miles from La Cañada Flintridge to I-15 near Cajon Pass. It continues along SR 138 to connect with Rim of the World Scenic Byway.
Four major areas offer skiing and other snow sports in winter. Although forest highways are generally open all year, SR 2 is seasonal and heavy snows sometimes close the roads. Winter closure is between Islip Saddle and Vincent Gap. Check with forest headquarters for information about weather conditions and wildland fire danger. The National Forest Adventure Pass is required in some of the day-use areas, trailheads and campgrounds in the Angeles National Forest. The cost is $5 for a day pass or $30 for an annual pass. For more information contact the USDA Supervisor's Office, Angeles National Forest, 701 N. Santa Anita Ave., Arcadia, CA 91006; phone (626) 574-5200 or (626) 574-1613.