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12 Must-Do Hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains

The San Gabriel Mountains are more than just mountains great for winter sports - they host waterfalls, valleys, swimming holes, and iconic formations as well!

By: Jamie Fleck + Save to a List

The San Gabriel Mountains are mainly known for two famous peaks in the Southern California area – Mount Baldy and Mount Wilson. However, aside from those two wonders, there are many beautiful and photo-worthy aspects of the San Gabriel Mountains that are just a hike away.

Iconic Formations:

1. Hike the Bridge to Nowhere

Photo: Ben Lertskadadet

When a flood discontinued the East Fork Road project in the 30’s, it left a bridge literally in the middle of nowhere. You can access this iconic landmark by a 10 mile round trip trail. Use caution when going on this trail, as flood frequently wash portions of the trail out. Learn more.

2. Hike the Bighorn Mine Trail

Photo: Jamie Fleck

A now abandoned mine was once a flourishing site for mining gold in the late 1800’s. It was discovered by Charles Tom Vincent and he named it after the bighorn sheep that he took care of. You will be treated with panoramic views of the Vincent Gap on your hike to the mine. Learn more.

3. Hike to the Icehouse Saddle

Photo: Julie Cash

Immensely popular due to its incredible views from the Icehouse “saddle” make sure to start this 7.2 roundtrip hike early in the morning to avoid the crowds and to be able to enjoy the scenery. Learn more.

4. Hike Devil’s Punchbowl and Devil’s Chair

Photo: Masa Kato

With its desert like landscape and the congregation of Joshua Trees, you can almost forget that you are in the mountains as you hike the 8 mile out-and-back trail to the Devil’s Punchbowl and Devil’s Chair. Both rock formations are quite a curiosity themselves. Learn more.


5. Hike to Fish Canyon Falls

Photo: Allie Morris

Further west of the famous peaks but still well within the San Gabriel Mountains is Fish Canyon Falls. A 5-mile roundtrip hike full of wildflowers takes you to this beautiful, three tiered waterfall. Learn more.

6. Hike to Lewis Falls

Photo: Kenneth Rodriguez Clisham

If you are looking to get away from the crowds and enjoy your own slice of secluded paradise, try Lewis Falls. Bonuses of the hike to it is that it's only a short one mile roundtrip trail, there is only an elevation gain of 250 feet, and the waterfall is nearly 50 feet tall. Learn more.

7. Cooper Canyon Falls

Photo: Sharalyn Duboise

If you are a big fan of the Redwoods, but don’t necessarily want to make the road trip, the trail to Cooper Canyon Falls is studded with redwoods, cedar, and Jeffrey pines all along the way. Learn more.

Mountain Peaks:

8. Hike Telegraph Peak via Manker Flat

Part of the “three T’s,” Telegraph Peak is the second along the trail, in between Thunder Mountain and Timber Mountain. It’s a 13 mile round trail with about 3,000 feet in elevation gain. Learn more.

9. Hike San Gabriel Peak

Photo: Mark Garcia

One of the more accessible peaks and with a fantastic view of the Los Angeles basin, the hike to San Gabriel Peak is only 3 miles roundtrip with a gain of 1,000 feet in elevation. Learn more.

10. Hike Stoddard Peak

Photo: Jamie Fleck

The hike to Stoddard Peak is also a more accessible trail with only about 1,000 feet in elevation gain. You will encounter a cluster of fairy-tale like cabins in the Barrett Cabin area as well as stunning view of Stoddard Flats along the way. Learn more.

11. Summit Mt. Baden-Powell

Photo: Brenda Lin

The PCT intersects with this very popular 8 mile trail. Surrounded by beautiful pines and the San Gabriel high country, and with a gain of 2,800 feet in elevation, you won’t be disappointed. Learn more.

12. Summit Mt. Baldy

Photo: Brenda Lin

Pretty much everyone in the Southern California area is familiar with Mount Baldy, especially for skiing and other winter sports. You can conquer it as well by hiking the 13 mile round trip trail. Learn more.

Cover photo: Jamie Fleck

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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