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.
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).