Difficulty: Moderate, 4 miles total, ~600 feet of elevation gain
The South Fork of Big Rock Creek is one of the most beautiful canyons on the Angeles National Forest, and yet is something of a well-kept secret. It contains an astonishing diversity of natural features: beautiful geology, narrow rocky cliffs, typical mid-elevation desert vegetation giving way to a wide swath of riparian hardwood forest, and at least one historic structure. It’s also one of the best places on the ANF to see bighorn sheep. Join Great Outdoors LA chapter for a short hike up the canyon to experience all of this!
We’ll meet at the PCT trailhead just north of South Fork Campground at 8am. We’ll wait until about 8:15 and then start the hike.
To reach the trailhead get yourself to Highway 138, then turn south on 165th St. E. This turns into Bob’s Gap road. After driving about 6.4 miles you’ll dead-end into Valyermo Road. Turn left and in roughly a quarter-mile turn right down Big Rock Creek Road. Follow Big Rock Creek Road about 2.3 miles, then take the left turn onto a rough dirt road toward South Fork Campground. The parking area for the trailhead is a right turn roughly 0.85 miles, just before the campground. The map at this link shows driving directions from either the west (via the 5 and 14 freeways) or the east (via the 15 freeway). All parked vehicles should display an Adventure Pass!
The hike route:
We’ll wait until about 8:15 and then start the hike.
This is a moderately rough hike along and sometimes IN the streambed of Big Rock Creek. Wear long pants and strong-soled boots as we’ll repeatedly be using rocks to cross the creek. It’s possible (but not necessary) that your feet will get wet. Everyone should have at least one liter of water and snacks. We also suggest that you dress in layers as the early morning will be cold until the sun rises over the eastern wall of the canyon. We’ll do a small amount of pushing through vegetation but for most of the length of the hike there are narrow game trails to follow. Bring a camera partly to capture the beauty of the canyon and creek, and partly in hopes that we spot some bighorn sheep on the cliffs above the creek. We’ll hike about two miles up to the riparian hardwood forest where we’ll stop for lunch, then turn around and backtrack to the trailhead. The elevation gain on this hike is minimal and gradual.
As always on a Great Outdoors hike we suggest folks bring the “ten essentials” listed here.
Most of this hike is in the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness and so group size is restricted to 15 persons. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity – register now! Group leader is Matthew Bokach, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.