San Gabriel Mountains National Monument


The San Gabriel River Ranger District in Angeles National Forest is one of the most heavily visited areas among national forests with more than 1.5 million visitors each year. The district is in the eastern-most portion of the Angeles, and spans 182,425 acres providing a portion of the scenic backdrop for Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

Forest visitors can enjoy dispersed or open camping throughout the entire Angeles National Forest.  In addition to dispersed camping, several developed seasonal campground are managed on the San Gabriel River Ranger District on a first-come, first-served basis. The district’s camp areas are Coldbrook Campground along Hwy-39 in Azusa Canyon; Deer Flats Campground on the slopes of Mt Islip along the northern portion of Hwy-39 near Hwy-2, and Manker Campground along the southern slopes of Mt Baldy. 

The San Gabriel River Ranger District offers a wide-range of recreational opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast. Forest visitors will find 95-miles of scenic hiking trails ranging from moderate 5-percent slopes, to trails ascending at slopes of 60 percent and greater. The trail system rises and falls throughout a clusters of satellite peaks surrounding the 10,000-feet towering Mt. San Antonio, commonly called Mt. Baldy. The district’s trail system includes a small portion of the famed Pacific Crest Trail, the rocky and winding Bear Creek trail into the San Gabriel Mountain Wilderness, and 85 additional miles of scenic foot trails.

In addition to hiking trails the district boasts a national bicycle trail. The West Fork National Scenic Byway is a 7-mile bike trail that parallels the rushing West Fork River. The paved and gated West Fork Trail is closed to motorized vehicles, allowing hikers and mountain bikers to experience the natural environment free of motorized traffic. The entire West Fork trail bounds the West Fork Wild Trout Area and the river’s bounty of rainbow trout, bluegill, and other common varieties. A state fishing license is required for all forest visitors over age 15. The West Fork area is restricted to “catch-and-release,” and fishing is limited to single barbless hooks and artificial lures.

Off-Highway Vehicle trail users can enjoy a 24-mile trek along the rough and tumble slopes of Pine Mountain on the Rincon Shortcut Road. The road is accessed by a permit system and is available during hunting season. Across from Pine Mountain and in the river bottom, off-roaders can ride for hours in the off-highway area commonly known as, “The Pit.” This area features stream crossing, mud, rocks, and large open areas for hours of fun.

The San Gabriel River Ranger District also includes the Sheep Mountain and San Gabriel wilderness areas, and a small portion of the Cucamonga Wilderness area administered by the neighboring San Bernardino National Forest. These two wilderness areas offer rushing rivers, rocky gorges, deep canyons, and spectacular vista. Hikers and campers can experience a range of flora and fauna, and can experience a natural retreat without leaving Los Angeles County.

In addition to campgrounds, hiking trails, bicycle trails, fishing areas, off-highway riding areas and wilderness, visitors to the San Gabriel River Ranger District can enjoy target shooting, hunting, cycling, and winter sports—skiing, snowboarding, and snow play.

Parents, teachers, and children especially find the San Gabriel district a unique place because of its three Environmental Education Centers. From class field trips, school projects, and general classroom instructions, the district’s environmental staff works with educators to provide a curriculum that meets state guidelines. The outdoor living laboratory supports classroom and outdoor activities in natural science, biology, botany, and cultural history. 

For recreation information on the San Gabriel River Ranger District, follow this link.