LA area backpacking trip help!
Display Avatars Sort By:
Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 10:12:00 MST Print View

Hey everybody,

I have an unexpected window of time off and want to jump on the chance to spend a few days in the woods. I will be in the LA area and I know nothing about Southern California backpacking opportunities. I have from Saturday, December 18 (morning) until Wednesday, December 22 (late afternoon). Five days! Here is the kicker, I'll be in Beverly Hills Friday night and starting Saturday morning I want to leave for the woods but WILL NOT have a car. I know, what the..? I'll be traveling by myself so the plan is to stay on existing trails as much as possible. I'm fit, comfortable in the woods and can travel 15-20 miles a day. Any suggestions?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 10:45:23 MST Print View

How are you planning on getting to a trailhead?
I don't understand...are you heading out on foot from Beverly Hills?

I have plenty of suggestions, but without a car I don't know how far you can travel to get to a trail. Public transportation into the mountains is nonexistent here.

Just a heads up as well...there's supposed to be a decent storm coming through starting on Friday night and lasting for a few days. I was heading out on Friday night to backpack in Los Padres...Probably changing plans and heading to the desert instead.

Edited by xnomanx on 12/16/2010 10:51:25 MST.

Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 10:49:58 MST Print View

I was planning on using public transportation to get to a trailhead. However I'm Googling my brains out right now trying to figure out public transportation in LA area. I might... have a ride to a trailhead if it was close to me in Beverly Hills. Or maybe to a spot where I could catch a bus or train. Not sure yet...

Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 11:05:36 MST Print View

Rain huh... Rats that would curtail my plans. Well I'll cast around for other options as well. Thanks!

Jason Delso
(zencarver) - MLife

Locale: DFW
Backpacker mag comes to the rescue? on 12/16/2010 11:45:27 MST Print View

The September, 2008 issue of Backpacker Magazine had a story about using public transit to get the Angeles NF. You can access the issue (and a couple dozen others) at backpacker.com/googlebooks

Hope that helps you out, assuming the storm doesn't wipe you out...

Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 12:26:15 MST Print View

Thank you Jason!

Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 14:58:24 MST Print View

I checked the weather, your right Craig the coastal mountains are going to get pounded for a few days. Bummer... I shifted gears and will head towards the desert as well. I can get to Joshua Tree National Park somewhat hassle free any suggestions for Joshua Tree?

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 15:20:45 MST Print View

Your timing is a bit off...
I'm planning on doing a solo in Joshua Tree tomorrow night (Friday) and coming back early Saturday. Unfortunately, my schedule isn't flexible...I have plans on Sat afternoon and Sunday, otherwise I'd be happy to have you join me if you weren't busy on Friday.

I'm at a complete loss as to how to get to Joshua Tree without a car. I cycle commute and ride the LA trains all the time...but JT has always been a driving trip.

As for backpacking, I'm going in through the Covington Flats area tomorrow...No hassles with entrance stations, crowds, etc. I'd suggest that area because it's not that far in from Yucca Valley/Joshua Tree and it's generally less traveled than the main park areas...All of the main entrances are somewhat distant from many of the areas I like to backpack in JT...so again, without a car, I don't know how you'd get through the park other than hiking it.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
I wish I could join you! on 12/16/2010 15:26:32 MST Print View

I havent been bping to JT, just to the Mojave NP. Either way, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Stormy dynamic weather is my favorite time to be in the desert. I wish I could join you but this weekend we have a full line-up of family stuff to do. Watch out for the jackalopes!

Adan

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: I wish I could join you! on 12/16/2010 15:32:14 MST Print View

watch out for Jackolopes and the crazy jackolope eyes

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: I wish I could join you! on 12/16/2010 16:42:54 MST Print View

You'd be more than welcome Adan.
I didn't put up any trip invites simply because my idea to do this was so last minute (this morning, actually) I figured nobody would be free.

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 17:22:54 MST Print View

Craig are you doing some scouting on the CR&HT?

In response to the OP's question: You could always hitchhike out there! Convenient because you'll take the 10 the whole way. Not the most efficient mode of travel however.

Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 17:27:41 MST Print View

OMG I finally figured it out. LA Metro > LA Bus > Greyhound to Palm Springs > MBTA to Joshua Tree > Hitchhike into park at West entrance. I talked to the people at MBTA and they said it's not uncommon for climbers to do this. Cool. Now where do I go for three days? I'm heading out to REI right now to pick up a map. Craig, and/or Brandon got any favorite spots in the park?

Brandon Sanchez
(dharmabumpkin) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Mtns
jt on 12/16/2010 18:28:37 MST Print View

http://www.desertgold.com/park/hikes/crh.html
This link details backpacking the California Riding and Hiking Trail. It is 36 or 37 miles long so its good for a two or three day hike. You can find it on this map:
http://www.nps.gov/jotr/planyourvisit/upload/jotrmap.pdf

Backpacker mag has another detail:
http://bp2.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?tripId=410883

Backpackers with cars will stash water at Keyes View Road (about half way) but you can pick some up at Ryan Campground instead. I've never backpacked here, but I have car-camped at least a dozen times. My favorite campgrounds are Jumbo Rocks and Indian Cove, but I imagine a secluded backcountry site is pretty sweet as well. Bonus: no fee for backcountry camping!

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
RE Desert hike on 12/16/2010 20:43:19 MST Print View

Dylan, nice to hear from you again. Me and a few guys were going to go to Mojave this weekend to try out some gear, but it looks like they were calling for 1-3 inches of rain, and we didn't want to get caught by any flash floods, we have never been desert hiking. I wouldn't mind picking you up and joing you, but I don't know if the other guys would want to go, especially since my friend Kevin is bring his 6 year old son, I don't think his son would be able to do the miles. I'll keep my options open though and keep in contact. How far is it to Joshua Tree from where you are at? Jack

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 21:24:09 MST Print View

Sounds like you've got it lined out, BUT if you still need an option, you can use http://socaltransport.org/tm_pub_start.php
If you enter your a location in Beverly Hills and enter "2525 Lake Ave, Altadena, CA", you can take a bus to the corner of Lake Ave and Fontenet Way. If you walk (uphill, sorry), one mile (approx. address 3381 Lake Ave if you want to Google it), there is an Angeles National Forest Trailhead. Topo map:
http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=34.20761,-118.08037&z=14&t=T&marker0=34.20399%2C-118.13075%2Cunnamed&marker1=34.20415%2C-118.12835%2Cunnamed&marker2=34.20472%2C-118.12725%2Cunnamed&marker3=34.20486%2C-118.12652%2Cunnamed&marker4=34.21122%2C-118.12092%2Cunnamed&marker5=34.21824%2C-118.11848%2Cunnamed&marker6=34.22122%2C-118.10912%2Cunnamed&marker7=34.22637%2C-118.11009%2Cunnamed&marker8=34.22731%2C-118.10878%2Cunnamed&marker9=34.22600%2C-118.11082%2Cunnamed&marker10=34.21789%2C-118.09876%2Cunnamed&marker11=34.20836%2C-118.08382%2Cunnamed&marker12=34.19934%2C-118.08002%2Cunnamed&marker13=34.20302%2C-118.07129%2Cunnamed&marker14=34.21246%2C-118.05887%2Cunnamed&marker15=34.20813%2C-118.03333%2Cunnamed&marker16=34.19256%2C-118.08788%2Cunnamed&marker17=34.19040%2C-118.09271%2Cunnamed&marker18=34.19177%2C-118.10547%2Cunnamed&marker19=34.19031%2C-118.13118%2Cunnamed&marker20=34.18949%2C-118.13124%2Cunnamed

A= Entry Trailhead.
B= Water fountain and where trail drops into canyon (not marked on topo)
C= Actual route of trail into canyon
D= Approx route of trail
E= Echo Mountain, approx 2.7 mi from trailhead. You could camp here if you got off bus late in the day. No water.
F= West branch of Castle Canyon. Water available.
G= Inspiration Point. Picnic shelter here. Technically, the Forest is closed north and east of here according to a very small sign. There were a gazillion people out, roundly ignoring the sign.
H= Mt. Lowe Trail Camp. A decent place to camp. No water in creek immediately by camp. You could go west or north from Mt. Lowe Trail Camp, but you'd be getting into the burn area. Haven't been; not sure what it's like.
I= Water.
J= Water.
K= Idlehour Trail heading east. I went down this trail two weeks ago. Decent condition. You do pass through a burned area, but trail passes through burn area into nice front country area with Douglas Firs.
L= Idlehour Trail Camp. OK place to camp. Not my favorite but nice enough. Water available in creek. There's also water available at the creek crossing shown on the map east of point "K".
M= Junction with old toll road (dirt). Head east here toward pt. "N."
N= Random point on toll road.
O= Junction with Mount Wilson Trail. Descend trail to "P".
P= Hoegee's Camp. Camp here or, depending on your mileage "needs," go north over the hill to Spruce Grove Camp which I didn't mark but should be obvious. Sturdevant (sometimes misspelled Sturtevant) Camp is a Methodist Church Camp. Water available but no camping. The camp is slated to be permanently closed later this month after 120 or so years of operation. If you go to Spruce Grove, you'll need to either retrace your steps to Hoegee's the following day or head down stream (water continuously available in the creek when the trail runs near the creek) and then cut up Winter Creek back to Hoegee's. From Hoegee's, you'll need to head back through points "O", "N", and "M" to point "Q."
Q= Henninger Flats. Two separate camping areas here. Flush toilets (lower camping area only), pit toilets, and running water available. Lower camping area is overly civilized. Even has an electric "streetlight" in the middle of the camp that is on all the time. :( From here continue down toll road toward "R."
R= Random point on toll road.
S= Exit Trailhead. Locked at dark. Might want to check on hours with LA County Fire Dept. who runs Henninger Flats. LA County Sheriff, Altadena Substation, may also know gate hours. There are ways around gate after hours via Altadena Crest Trail.
T= Intersection of Lake Ave and Altadena Drive (a major intersection)
U= Bus stop on corner of Lake Ave and Fontenet Way. It is approx 1.5 miles from exit trailhead back to the bus stop.

I've mentioned places to camp, but obviously I haven't worked out an itinerary. This is just some raw data. Up to you if you want to form an itinerary out of it. Hope it's helpful for this or some other trip.

HJ

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
@Craig on 12/16/2010 22:29:26 MST Print View

@Craig, I didnt mean to imply that you should invite me. Sorry. I was actually talking to Dylan, he and I haved hiked together so...Anyway, thanks for the invite. I actually would be thrilled to go (with either you or Dylan) but family stuff this weekend takes dibs. Nothing sounds better right now than a long hard walk over open land, I love the desert. Have a good walk. I will definitely be going in the next two weeks, christmas vacay!Brandon's trail recommendation sounds cool, I'll be looking into that. Maybe I could convince some of you locals to join.


@Dylan, have a great walk bro, good to hear from you again. I hope school and all that has been going well. I've been waiting for that Mexican trip report! I might not be busy Saturday or Wednesday, maybe I could help you get part of the way, let me know. Keep in mind, water is the key in the desert. One trick I've learned is to start in the center of the hike so i can stash water. Then you do a 1.5 day loop in one direction, resupply from your stashed water, then do a 1.5 day loop in another direction. just a thought.

Adan

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/16/2010 22:42:07 MST Print View

Brandon:
As for scouting the CHRT, no, not this time. I've already been through it in the area I'm going to. There's a canyon out there I've been wanting to explore...but not on a rainy day in the desert.
Friday is my last day of teaching before winter break and we have a short day...I get out at 12:30. Figured I'd might as well go somewhere. The plan is to park at the backcountry board at Covington Flats, hike out and intersect the CHRT, and find a nice spot (on high ground!) to camp, drink some wine, read, draw, and relax. I'm pretty much planning on getting stuck in my shelter all evening/night with rain...bringing my Shangri-La 3 for palatial space.

Adan:
No worries.
Let's get out sometime soon...let me know when you're free, I can always work something.
You too Brandon.

Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/17/2010 13:06:14 MST Print View

You guys are awesome thank you for all the tips!

@Jack, dude pm with your mobile number I'll call you!

@Adan, I think I'm going to follow your advice. From what I can tell it's easier for me to hitchhike in to the park via the west entrance so I'll be starting from a trailhead inside the park not on the edge. I'm just so stoked to be getting out. Last semester was rough... my clinical rotation was in pediatric oncology a sobering experience to say the least. But enough of that, onwards huh. I'll keep you posted.

@ Craig, winter break is here, it's on! Good luck tonight, stay dry.

Dylan Snodgrass
(TrueNorth)

Locale: San Francisco, CA
LA area backpacking trip help! on 12/22/2010 12:17:53 MST Print View

Hey guys just wanted to post a follow up. First, thank you all so much for the information it was all useful in helping me plan my trip. I helped my wife drive to LA and then spent the next day at the Getty (awesome!) hoping the weather would clear. It did not...it just got worse. I wound up flying home and spent the time working around the house. Up here in SF it's still raining! I'm hoping to get in a few days after new years somewhere in the bay area. Maybe something like this: http://bit.ly/frrsag.

@Jack, great talking to you. Hopefully we can do something this spring/summer.

@Craig, nice follow up post. Sounded like an interesting night, have fun exploring different shelter options...

@Adan, Ken. Jackalope awesomeness below!

Jackalope