Written by Mary J., CISC Hiking Group Leader
On Saturday 9th March Hiking group braved the cold and the snow to finally complete the hike from Red Box to San Gabriel Peak via the Bill Reilly Trail. We had been trying to complete this hike since December but kept having to postpone due to poor weather conditions thanks to the unusually cold winter we’ve had. 16 of us set off by about 10.30am after gathering in the car park at the Red Box picnic area. The first part of the hike involved walking along the road (not ideal if you were thinking of doing this with small children) and then we turned off onto the trail. The trail was hard to spot at first glance – it looked like a lot of debris had fallen down the mountain side, however the trail was hidden to the side. It climbed quite steeply for a few miles and several switchbacks, but it was a scenic walk and a great leg workout! The trail joined up with a small road and we took a detour to the top of Mount Disappointment where we paused to catch our breath and admire the view (although cloud and fog obscured some of it!). We headed back down the road and joined the trail for the final stretch to San Gabriel Peak. The last part was steep, some parts were treacherously muddy and some parts still covered in snow – very beautiful! If you are thinking of doing this hike before the weather improves a lot make sure you have good boots – hiking poles would be useful! We made it to the top just as the clouds cleared so we had great views of all the surrounding mountains and of LA – we took our group photo and then had a lunch break. Eventually the clouds returned, it got colder and we set off back the way we came. Impressively, no-one slipped up on the way down (as far as I am aware)! We got back to our cars just before 2pm – the whole trip taking less than 4 hours, covering just over 6 miles and nearly 1500ft elevation. This was a pleasant hike with an enjoyable level of challenge and not very busy – I would definitely recommend it. Most of the trail until you get tot the road is covered by trees so would be fairly shady in the summer.
Next hike is planned for 27th April. Hope to see you then!
Distance: 6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1500 ft.
Time: 3.5-4 hours
Starting Point: Red Box Picnic Area
Fee: You will need a National Forest Adventure Pass (or National Parks pass/ America the Beautiful etc.) to park at Red Box Picnic Area. If you don’t have one, you can buy a day pass for $5.