Know before you go to the Angeles National Forest & San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Release Date: Feb 8, 2024

Contact(s): Dana Dierkes, 626-698-8482


ARCADIA, Calif. – February 8, 2024 – “Know before you go!” is the phrase to remember year-round when it comes to planning for a fun and safe visit to the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. With elevations over 10,000 feet, winter visits to the forest and monument require special preparations. Keep the following trip-planning tips in mind:   
 
Before Your Visit  

  • Learn about the places you can go! Visit the Angeles National Forest website at Angeles National Forest - Home (usda.gov) and click on “Discover Your Forest.” Or call or email us in advance. Stop at visitor center upon arrival for updates about conditions.

  • Is now a good time to go? Check weather forecasts before arrival. Visit Los Angeles, CA (weather.gov), and pay close attention to references to mountainous areas. Consider obtaining a more specific location-based forecast for your destination, e.g., Chilao, Mt, Baldy, etc.  

  • Check to see if you need specific passes or permits. Buy your pass in advance--Angeles National Forest - Passes & Permits (usda.gov)

  • Review safety tips before your visit - Angeles National Forest - Outdoor Safety & Ethics (usda.gov). NOTE: Hiking at high-elevations requires additional preparation, clothing, equipment, and training, especially during winter conditions.

  • Dress for success for your desired activity and location.  

  • Most main roads into the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument are not managed or maintained by the USDA Forest Service. More info: Angeles National Forest - Alerts & Closures (usda.gov)

  • There may be areas temporarily closed for storm damage.

  • Cell service is non-existent in nearly all of the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.  

  • Leave No Trace! Bring a trash bag or two with you to help keep the Angeles National Forest beautiful. Put your trash inside trash cans and dumpsters. Please consider taking your trash home with you in cans/dumpsters are full. Trash left outside of cans/dumpsters can be dangerous to wildlife.

Prepare Your Vehicle 

  • Winter travel requires special preparations for your vehicle—Winter Driving Tips | Caltrans—to include stocking extra clothing and blankets, in case you get stranded along the way.  

  • Make sure your vehicle has a full tank of gas! There are no gas stations in the Angeles National Forest. For example, if headed to the Mt. Baldy area in the winter, you could be stuck in traffic on the way for several hours.  

  • Drive defensively. Be aware of wet, snowy, and icy conditions—Winter Driving Tips | Caltrans.  

  • Snow chains or cables may be required during your visit. Bring them and know how to use them - D8 Winter Weather Travel Tips (youtube.com). 

During Your Visit:  

  • Do not block roadways, gates, trailheads, dumpsters, or areas marked for authorized vehicles only. Park only in designated or legal parking spots.  

  • Slow down. You never know what is around the next blind curve. There could be another vehicle, black ice, rocks, mud, flooding, or something else in your lane! 

  • Snow Play: 

  • High-Elevation Hiking:  

    • There is a higher potential for injuries or death when hiking at high elevations.  

    • Be prepared with: 

      • Compass and paper maps 

      • Extra food, water, and clothing 

      • Mountaineering boots and crampons 

      • Helmet and ice axe 

      • Winter mountaineering training 

    • Share your plans. Tell others where you are going and when you plan to return.  

    • Do not travel alone.  

    • Outdoor environments contain natural, seasonal, and weather-related hazards.  

    • Rescue may be difficult or impossible. Be prepared to spend the night, if necessary.  

    • Hiking at high elevations can take much longer than anticipated, so plan extra time and take more food and water. 

    • Expect rapid and severe weather changes along high-elevation trails year-round.  

    • North-facing slopes do not receive much sunlight and can be very icy or snowy.  

    • Melted snow or ice you saw along your hiking route could refreeze before you hike back and long before dusk or nightfall. 

    • You are responsible for your own safety. 

    • Keep yourself and rescuers out of danger by not taking unnecessary risks.