Snow Hiking In Los Angeles: Gabrieleno Trail

For awhile I’ve wanted to find more snow hikes that don’t have so much snow on the trail that snowshoes are required and aren’t so steep that microspikes or crampons are required.  We had a short snow storm last week with snow levels getting down to around 2,500 feet yielding a great opportunity for me to find another one. So, last Saturday I went to Red Box and snow hiked the Gabrieleno Trail from Red Box to Valley Forge. This trail turned out to work so well  to snow hike in just my waterproof trail runners that I snow hiked it again with a group of friends and family the following day.  The San Gabriel River also runs next to this trail and crosses it at several points.

Red Box is at about 4,600 feet in altitude and Valley Forge is at about 3,500 feet.  These elevations are important as they are high enough to receive snow several times a year and low enough for the snow to melt within around a week of clear skies with lingering patches on the north slopes a little longer. While the snow is pretty much gone right now, another storm is expected Tuesday and Wednesday with expected snow levels forecasted to once again get down into the 3,000 foot range.  This is a great introductory snow hike especially for those just wanting to experience the snow without needing special equipment.  Click on any image below to start a slideshow.

A Patch Teeming With Lady Bugs

One of my favorite things about hiking is the unexpected interactions with life in the forest. Yesterday, on my weekly family and friends hike, we came across a patch teeming with lady bugs along the Gabrieleno Trail. My friend Lorenzo and I took great delight in photographing and watching them well past the time when the rest of our group had lost interest. I’ve only seen this many one other time which was with my brother in August 2011 along the Vincent Gulch Trail by the San Gabriel River. Click on an image to enlarge and begin a slide show.

Weekly Nature Question #7: What Species of Plant is This?

My Weekly Nature Question is about my asking for help from the blogosphere (and other internet users) to learn about species living in Angeles Forest and to share that learning with others.  I’m really hoping that this turns out to be a viable and meaningful way to share knowledge.

The answer to last week’s bird question turned out to be a Mourning Dove.  As more information is shared, it will appear on the Mourning Dove Forest Life Page where there are already links to more information.

I’d like to extend thanks to:

Linda of the blog A Nature Mom for first identifying the Mourning Dove and Seth of the blog Kloipy Speaks for confirming Linda’s identification.  Thanks also to bloggers from the blogs Juniper Road, Living and Lovin, and 1000 Miles for commenting and providing more information.

This week nobody sent me any links to blog articles.  However, using the search feature in the WordPress Reader, I noticed a post by the blog 1 Year. 365 Species.  The post Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) is a nice short description of the Mourning Dove with a couple of photos.  This post is one in a project by the author to document 365 species in a year–much more ambitious than my goal of 52 this year!

If you notice this post and have written (or decide to write) a post on the Mourning Dove, send me a link and I will add a link to the Mourning Dove Forest Life Page and create a reference page like the one for 1Year. 365 Species to your blog.

This Week’s Question:  What species of plant is this?  I’ve seen this plant with white flowers numerous times on the north side of Mt. Wilson and have enjoyed the splash of color it provides along the trail in the spring time–especially when travelling through burn areas.

April 2012

April 2012

Above photo taken from the Gabrieleno Trail (between Red Box and Valley Forge).

April 2012

April 2012

Above photo taken from the Gabrieleno Trail (between Red Box and Valley Forge).

April 2012

April 2012

Above photo taken from the Gabrieleno Trail (between Red Box and Valley Forge).

National Trails Day at the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center

The Haramakngna American Indian Cultural Center is having a hike-a-thon Saturday on National Trails Day to raise money for the Center.  If you can make it, they will be hiking the Gabrieleno Trail from Red Box to the Valley Forge Campground.  If not, consider making a donation to their cause.  Wherever you are tomorrow, Happy National Trails Day!

Gabrieleno Trail between Red Box and Valley Forge Campground

Shade and Water along the Gabrieleno Trail

The Gabrieleno National Recreation Trail is about 28 miles long in its entirety.  Importantly, a short portion of the trail is still closed due to the Station Fire from Paul Little to the junction with the Bear Canyon Trail.  For the second time I hiked a short portion of the Gabrieleno trail from Red Box to the Valley Forge Campground. This time I hiked with family and friends on a hot day and it was great to have trees blocking the sun for a large part of the trek.

Starting from the trailhead at Red Box, the trail descends until reaching the Valley Forge Campground.  Most of the way the grade isn’t very steep.

The trail essentially follows the San Gabriel River.  The river is often still visible during the brief periods when the trail leads away from it for a while.  The trail also crosses the river a number of times, but the river isn’t deep enough for that to be a problem.  Fortunately, at times when there is no shade the trail is often by the river.

There were many lizards roaming around on this April day.

Flowers were blooming and it was great to see the bees working their magic.

It’s worth checking out the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center located at the parking area for the trailhead.  There are some nice artifacts there and volunteers that can tell you about the history of the area.  They have several events planned through October including a Hike-A-Thon to raise money for the center on June 2 (National Trails Day).