Posts Tagged ‘Station Fire’

Ken Burton Trail Restoration – Day 14

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Saturday, March 19, 2016, was a perfect day to do trailwork. There was moisture in the ground from the week’s rain, temperatures were cool, and the crew were able to ride to and from the work site via the Gabrielino trail. A half-dozen or so volunteers were already on their way to the work site when this group photo was taken.

Some crew members were already on their way to the work site

Some crew members were already on their way to the work site

While several volunteers rode in via the Gabrielino, some opted to ride up to Brown Mountain and enjoy the fruits of their labor on the way down Ken Burton trail to the work site. It was the first time we had been able to ride all the way down to the 16th switchback without interruption. The volunteers who rode down Ken Burton trail were all in agreement that the efforts of the group over the previous five months had been well-worth the experience.

We were fortunate enough to have several SoCal High school league student-athletes and coaches join us for the day, along with members of the mountain bike forum out of Santa Clarita.

This was a heavily damaged section

This was a heavily damaged section

With the major brush work completed, the crew split into groups, concentrated on re-cutting the bench along a heavily damaged section of the trail, restoring outslope, and removing remaining roots and stubs from the tread.

Another crew worked diligently to rebuild the 16th switchback, using rock extracted from the tread to build an outside retaining wall on top of the old wire basket retaining structure that had failed.  By day’s end, the switchback was completely rebuilt. We were fortunate to have the expert assistance of Hans from Bellfree Contractors on this major effort.

Rebuilding Switchback 16

Rebuilding Switchback 16

By day’s end the crew had completed tread work almost all the way down to the 17th switchback, restoring one of the more heavily damaged sections of the trail so far.

So far, 81 individual volunteers have put in 1,408 total person-hours of work on this project in 14 scheduled work days, plus another 12 prep days.  This is an impressive effort to restore this much-loved trail that was built by mountain bikers from the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association in the early 90s.

20160319-Ken Burton Trailwork Progress

The next scheduled group work day on Ken Burton will be with Mount Wilson Bicycling Association on April 17, though there will be additional prep days before then. Contact if you’re interested in helping prep before then (likely April 10).

Vetter Mountain Trail Restoration Progress

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Last January the Forest Service allowed some experienced trail maintenance volunteers, who had been previously certified to use chainsaws at the “A” level, to step up their training to a “B” level. Under current regulations, A level sawyers are restricted to 8 inch trees or smaller, and must be supervised. B-level Sawyers are allowed to work unsupervised, on trees up to 24″ in diameter, and can supervise and work with A-level sawyers.

Chainsaw Certification Class of 2015

B Level Chainsaw Certification Class of 2015

CORBA President Steve Messer, and volunteer Mike McGuire both received their B level certification, and have been putting them to use all year. MWBA volunteers Mitch Marich, Brad Benam and Erik Hillard also received their A level certification, along with several other individuals and volunteers from other organizations and areas outside Los Angeles.

Together the CORBA and MWBA sawyer team has been cutting trees from trails all year. We’ve cut trees from Brown Mountain, El Prieto, Sunset Ridge, Gabrielino, Strawberry Peak, Colby Canyon, Mount Lowe East, Sam Merrill and Silver Moccasin trails. Six years after the Station Fire, downed trees are becoming a major and constant problem.

Our biggest project has been Vetter Mountain trail. This was a favorite of local mountain bikers, as the first descent of the classic Chilao Loop (or, more accurately, the Chilao Figure-8). The area was one of the most heavily impacted areas of the forest by the Station Fire. Drought has slowed the area’s recovery, and there are still thousands of dead trees waiting to fall.

We began in early spring 2015, first clearing the Charlton Flats loop road of more than two dozen downed trees just to get to the bottom of the Vetter Mountain Trail and Silver Moccasin trail. We cleared all the deadfall from the lower section of Vetter through to the first road crossing. There were many trees beyond our chainsaw certification level, the largest being just over 50 inches in diameter. These were taken care of by Little Tujunga Hot Shots Captain Greg Stenmo, whose support we were grateful to have.

After the summer heat and when fire danger levels and wind conditions allowed, on October 3rd CORBA and USFS volunteers Mike and Robin McGuire returned to begin work on the next section of the trail. In a day’s work, they were only able to clear the first hundred feet of the trail, with the sheer number of trees stacked like Chinese pickup sticks.


We returned on October 8th. In the five days since Mike and Robin were up there, another four trees had fallen across the road. Finally getting to the trail, we began cutting downed trees, poodle dog bush and buckthorn from the overgrown tread. In places it was impossible to see any remnant of trail through the brush and deadfall, so having been familiar with the trail in its pre-fire glory was a must.  The time lapse below gives a pretty good indication of what’s been involved in clearing the trail. This is six hours of work compressed to nine minutes.

We returned on October 23, and November 5. On November 5 we started from the top of the trail, near the site of the old lookout and worked our way down. It was a glorious moment for us to finally have cut and cleared over 150 trees from Vetter Mountain trail, Charlton trail, and the Charlton Loop road. After finishing, we went back and inspected the trail from top to bottom, and found a dozen more trees fallen in areas we’d previously cleared.

Once again we returned on December 17, first clearing downed trees off the road, then several new trees that had fallen across Vetter and Charlton trails. Afterwards we joined the Chilao hotshots crew, who were clearing downed trees from Silver Moccasin trail after the particularly strong windstorms of December.  With our help, they were able to get the job finished in one day.

The trail remains closed to the public. There are still too many dead trees that have been rotting away for six years, waiting to fall every time the wind blows. More than once, when we finished our day’s chainsaw work as the afternoon winds started blowing, we heard more trees falling. Because of these dangers, we are not willing to take in volunteer crews to begin restoring the trail. Since winds have been blowing steadily this past month (over 70mph the week before Christmas), there are probably many more trees down again.

Currently the Forest Service, along with Fire Crews and us as Volunteer Sawyers, are developing a plan to clear remaining standing trees in the trail and road corridors, so that they don’t continue to fall across the trail every time the wind blows. Currently crews are doing that along the Santa Clara Divide Road so that it can be reopened to vehicles next year.

We hope to begin restoration work on the Vetter Mountain trail next year, after we finish the Ken Burton trail. Stay tuned for details.

Ken Burton Trail Restoration Continues December 13

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015
MWBA and CORBA Trail Crew

Most of the Sunday, 11/22 crew after they arrived. Thanks guys and gals!

On Sunday, November 22nd, 2015, we had our third full trail restoration work day on Ken Burton trail with the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association. 23 volunteers made the 7 mile, 2000′ climb to pitch in. Bob trailers were used once again to get needed tools and supplies to the work site.

We continued on from where we finished last time. The crews worked feverishly for a solid four hours, clearing an additional 1600′ of trail. We’re making rapid progress, thanks in part to the excellent original construction by the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association in the 1990’s.


Ken Burton Hike a Bike

Before: A group who poached the closed trail in 2013. The brush is only thicker and taller now.


Completed trailwork Ken Burton

After our crew had been through


Ken Burton Trail Restoration

After: looking the other direction

The before and after is quite dramatic. Where the trail was previously completely obscured by brush, it is now in better shape than before the fire. Our crews are getting it down to a fine art. We’re using power hedge trimmers for the initial brush clearance, followed by swampers (who remove and stash the cut brush), then loppers and hand saws to fine tune the brush and stump removal.  The lead crew is followed by a tread crew, working to remove stumps and roots from the tread, and pull down slough to restore the original trail tread.  We’re cutting the trail to its original 36 – 48″ tread width where possible, knowing that it will narrow down again with time.

Ken Burton Trailwork

Getting close to the memorial and the top of the switchbacks


Ken Burton Memorial. Plaque has been long gone.

Ken Burton Memorial. The plaque is long gone.

Our target for the day was to reach the Ken Burton Memorial, a plaque dedicated to USFS Battalion Chief Ken Burton, who was killed in a car crash in November 1985. For those who remember the trail, the memorial was just before the very first switchback descending into the Arroyo Seco canyon. We made it to the Memorial at about 1 p.m., leaving time for people to gather tools, load up trailers and ride back down for lunch at 2. Pat Phillips, a local Altadena resident and one of the original construction crew in the 1990’s, graciously hosted us for lunch afterwards.

Failed wire basket retaining wall

Failed wire basket retaining wall


We’ve also reached the first failed retaining wall structure. In my survey of the trail, only two sections of retaining wall structure failed out of the dozens used, a testament to the work of the original MWBA crew. Those dozens of structures have survived three major El Nino winters and one Station Fire.


Project Status. Click for a larger view.

So far we’ve cleared approximately .7 miles of the trail, about 1/3 of the work. We have a couple more days of very similar work before it will get especially thick and tough near the bottom. At that time we’ll need to coordinate with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps who are working on the Gabrielino trail, near where it meets the bottom of Ken Burton trail.

Thanks again to all the volunteers who came out to help. Our next work day is December 13 (weather permitting). Our tentative dates starting next year are January 10 and January 24, to be confirmed soon. The more people who contribute, the better our chances of riding this trail next summer!


Ken Burton Trail Restoration Has Begun

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
The Ken Burton trail goes right up the middle of this picture. It's hard to find.

The Ken Burton trail goes right up the middle of this picture. It’s hard to find.

Earlier this year, CORBA used a generous grant from REI to help fund the restoration of the Gabrielino trail to Oakwilde Campground and the Ken Burton trail junction. Pooling resources with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, CORBA helped fund a private contractor, Bellfree Contractors, to oversee volunteers and Conservation Corps crews, taking the lead on the project. The trailwork needed was so extensive it required the review and approval of Forest Service staff engineers. Much of the trail was completely gone, having been swept away in a massive landslide, or gouged into a ten-foot-deep, twelve-foot wide gully where once you could step over a trickle of water as it crossed the trail. That work was begun last spring, and Los Angeles Conservation Corps continue to work on the Gabrielino in the area. The Trail remains closed to the public beyond Paul Little campground/Brown Mountain Dam while restoration efforts continue.

Meanwhile, we were given permission to begin work on the Ken Burton trail earlier in summer. Work began in October with the trail being inspected, and in many cases searched for using older GPS tracks, by CORBA volunteers.  On Saturday, November 7th six volunteers came out to begin work on the trail. Just getting to the work site requires a 2000′ climb over 7 miles, with several steep, loose sections that are difficult without carrying tools. In one day’s work, we were able to clear brush from about a quarter mile of trail, and restore tread on just over half of that. The tread, once cleared of brush, is generally filled with loose slough that’s easy to clear, but is otherwise intact. A few retaining wall structures near the top have failed and will require digging out the old materials–iron posts, steel mesh, wire and screen–and replacing them.

After 7 miles and 2000', the crew arrives with tools in tow

After 7 miles and 2000′, the Saturday crew arrives with tools in tow

On Sunday, November 8, we worked with the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association’s and had a crew of about 18 come out to begin work. Several volunteers stepped up to haul bob trailers full of tools, no easy feat with over 2000′ of climbing. With hedge clippers doing the initial clearing, followed by a rake or Mcleod to clear the cut brush, followed by a loppers and pick-mattocks to pull roots, and finished off with a nice outsloping by Mcleod, we had it down to a system. The brush on day two was much thicker than the day before, but we were able to clear about another quarter mile of trail, and with the extra hands, do another quarter mile of basic treadwork.

Ken Burton trailwork

Brush was thick and the trail difficult to find in places.

After both days of trailwork the crews enjoyed a great meal and some local hospitality. Many thanks to everyone who came out for the work. This trail is special to many people, having been built by mountain bikers, the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, in the early 90’s. Special kudos to Brad, Burt, Mike, Robin, and Steve who came out both days!

20151107059-Ken Burton Trailwork

We left almost a half mile of the trail looking like this in one weekend.

We’ll be back out on the trail this Sunday, November 22, again with Mount Wilson Bicycling Association. And if there’s enough interest (and the weather/fire danger cooperates), another crew could head up on Saturday instead (or in addition!). At the moment, we’re approaching capacity on Mount Wilson Bicycling Association’s Facebook Event. For that reason this weekend’s trailwork isn’t being added to CORBA’s meetup calendar. However, a tentative third weekend on Sunday, December 13 is in the works. Stay tuned for details. The Forest Service requires our volunteers to wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves and hard hats which we supply (and with the thick brush, all that gear is a good idea). These can be carried up in backpacks for the ride up and changed into before we start work.

2015-11-08 13.11.00

Some of the crew prepare to head back down after a solid days work.

Ken Burton trail is closed to the public. Although we’ve started on it, it’s still dead-end with miles of hike-a-bike through heavy unrideable brush and poison oak once you get beyond our short restored section. People have gotten lost trying to find the trail. We’ll continue working on Ken Burton through the winter and coming Spring, with the goal of having it, and the Gabrielino back to Paul Little and JPL, ready to open by the end of Spring 2016. The more involved you stay, the more likely the Forest Service will open the Brown/Burton/Gab loop, an old favorite of many long-time mountain bikers.

How we get it done. Bob trailers can haul tools for six people.

How we get it done. Bob trailers can haul tools for six people.


Station Fire Closure to Expire, Strawberry Peak Loop Opens

Friday, May 23rd, 2014
Station fire damage to Strawberry Peak trail

Station fire damage to Strawberry Peak trail

The Station Fire burned over 250 square miles of the Angeles National Forest in 2009. The most recent Station Fire Closure Order went into effect on May 25 last year, and is in effect until May 24, 2014.  The Forest Service will not be renewing the general closure order. Instead, some trails that have yet to be restored will remain closed, along with some higher elevation fireroads. This is both for public safety and additional resource protection and recovery.

The following trails will remain closed:

  • Strawberry Peak Trail 12W05.1 (From the junction with Colby Canyon trail north to Upper Big Tujunga)
  • Lower Gabrielino Trail 11W14 (between Bear Canyon trail junction and Paul Little Campground)
  • Ken Burton Trail 12W19 (the complete trail)
  • Millard Waterfall trail (a non-system user-created trail)
  • Barley Flats Trail
  • Santa Clara Divide Road 3N17 (between Alder Saddle westward to the intersection with the BPL road near North Fork Station)
  • Axial roads that connect to the closed portion of 3N17 will also remain closed:
    • 4N32 (BPL Road) between 3N17 and 4N33
    • 4N33 (Moody Truck Trail) between 3N17 and 4N32
    • 4N24 (Beartrap Truck Trail/SCE Service Road) between 3N17 and Aliso Canyon Road
    • 3N90 (Roundtop) between 3N17 and Roundtop Peak
    • 3N32 (Mendenhall Ridge Road) between 3N17 and Indian Ben Saddle

Additionally, the following campgrounds will remain closed:

  • Messenger Flats Campground
  • Lightning Point Campground
  • Big Buck Campground

Note that some media reports have indicated that the Colby trail would be closed, without specifying which segments. Rest assured that the segments of the Colby Canyon trail that comprise the classic “Strawberry Peak Loop” will be opened. The segment of Colby Canyon trail north from Josephine Ridge to Highway 2 is still in very poor condition and not recommended for bicycles, though it will be opened.

Strawberry Peak after restoration

Strawberry Peak after restoration

We must acknowledge once again the generous support we received from REI to help fund the professional services of Bellfree Contractors, tools and food for volunteers, that allowed us to complete the restoration of the Strawberry Peak Trail. The restoration effort included a re-route of a particularly troublesome section, which was planned out as a part of the IMBA Trail Care Crew visit in 2012. We coordinated our efforts with The National Forest Foundation, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter trail crew. And of course, our biggest thanks go to the many volunteers who came out to our trailwork days on Strawberry Peak. We’ll be doing more trailwork there as we continue to maintain the trail in the future.

The Gabrielino Trail will be our next focus, and stay tuned for important news regarding that effort. We must emphasize that the closed segment of the Gabrielino trail is not ready for public use. At least three groups of trail users who ignored the closure have had to be extracted by Search and Rescue. Please stay off the closed trails listed above for your own safety.



Strawberry Peak Restoration Update

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Station fire damage to Strawberry Peak trail

Station fire damage to Strawberry Peak trail

Strawberry Peak is one of the most loved areas in the Angeles National Forest. It suffered devastating damage during the El Niño storms following the Station Fire. After the fire the trail was impassable and has remained closed to all users, even as much of the surrounding burn areas have opened up.

The Strawberry Peak and Colby Canyon trails together comprise the classic Strawberry Peak Loop. CORBA and the Boy Scouts have worked to restore the Gabrielino trail, the third leg of the classic loop, over several trailwork days since the Station Fire. It is open and in good shape.

During our initial surveys of Strawberry Peak trail, it became clear that one particularly problematic section of the trail could benefit from a complete re-route. This section, where the Strawberry Peak trail leaves the old Barley Flats fire road, is a fall-line rocky chute that was difficult to ride even before the fire. After the fire, it became a 4′ deep rocky rut for most of its length. Trail users (who should not be in the closed area) have been steadily widening this section of trail as they go around the ruts and rocks.

Restored Strawberry Peak trail

Restored Strawberry Peak trail

CORBA planned the re-route during our IMBA Trail Care Crew visit in 2012. About 30 class attendees and volunteers worked on the trail and learned how to flag out and prepare a new trail route. The re-route plans were submitted to the Forest Service for environmental review. The review process took about six months. We were required to power wash tools, among other things, to avoid spread of invasives. (CORBA’s tools are used in many different jurisdictions in Southern California).

In late 2012, CORBA received an REI grant of $10,000 for the restoration of the Strawberry Peak loop. We purchased some new tools, and fed volunteers on our trailwork days, and sought professional help. The National Forest Foundation funded the Los Angeles Conservation Corps for this and several other Station Fire damaged trails. Together, we solicited the services of Bellfree Contractors, a professional trailbuilding company, to restore many of the larger slide areas, burned sutter walls and downed trees. CORBA also paid over $2500 of our discretionary funds for professional trailbuilding services. We coordinated with the Sierra Club volunteer trail crew who also worked on the Strawberry Peak and Colby Canyon trails.

strawberry peak trail crew Volunteers, February 16, 2014

Volunteers, February 16, 2014

On February 16, CORBA had 22 volunteers come out for trailwork. We rode or hiked in the 3 miles to the Strawberry-Lawlor saddle, and worked on the trail as far down as Strawberry Springs. Those who rode or hiked in were very happy to be back on the closed trail. We accomplished a lot, clearing about .6 miles of trail, building three rock retaining walls at drainages, cutting and widening the trail bench, and removing slough.

The LACC and Bellfree Contractors had cleared and restored much of the Colby Canyon trail from Josephine Saddle to the Strawberry Potrero. After their work, it was in better shape than before the fire.

On March 16 we returned with about 17 CORBA and MWBA volunteers. We rode in 2.5 with Bob trailers about 2.5 miles, and restored the trail all the way to Strawberry-Lawlor saddle. With the re-route completed, the ride in was much better. There was poodle dog to remove, and slough from the one big winter storm of 2014. 

We will return to the trail during May, date TBD. There is still work to be done, including the repair of composite retaining walls, brushing and the ongoing need for routine maintenance.

With CORBA, Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, Sierra Club, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, National Forest Foundation and a professional contractor working together, the Strawberry Peak loop restoration has been progressing nicely.

Riding in to trailwork with Bob trailers

Riding in to trailwork with Bob trailers

The Station Fire Closure order is in effect until May 24, 2014. The Forest Service is assessing the burn area and the trails to determine whether to renew the closure order, modify it, or let it expire. The section of the Strawberry Peak trail north to Upper Big Tujunga Canyon needs a substantial re-route, planning for which has begun. Even if the Forest Service lifts the closure, we expect the Strawberry Peak trail from the junction with Colby Canyon trail north to Upper Big Tujunga to remain closed, or be subject to a seasonal or temporary closure. Because of the need for a re-route, this section of the trail has not yet been worked on.

CORBA would like to thank all the volunteers who came out to our trailwork days; to REI for their generous grant that made the restoration and professional help possible; to the Sierra Club, National Forest Foundation and Los Angeles Conservation Corps for their efforts, and to Bellfree Contractors for their professional assistance.


Strawberry Peak Trailwork – February 16

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

On February 16, we’ll be heading back up to work on Strawberry Peak trail.

Drainage in need of repair

Drainage in need of repair

The trail is still closed to public use, and while much work has been completed, there is still much more to be done. Our goal is to get the classic Colby Trail/Strawberry Peak trail loop in good enough condition that the forest service will consider lifting the closure on that trail this year.

Details of where on the trail we will work will depend on how much is accomplished by a professional trailbuilder who will be doing some major repairs the week prior. Final meeting place will be announced closer to the trailwork day, but should be either Redbox or Clear Creek. Carpooling from ACH just north of the 210 freeway is also an option.

There will be some preparatory work on Friday, Feb 14 and/or Saturday Feb 15, and we’d welcome a small number (3 – 5 people) for the prep work. Contact Steve Messer if you’re interested in the prep work, or sign up on Meetup for the trailwork day on Sunday, Feb 16. We will probably meet at 8 a.m. and work through until about 2 p.m. Lunch will be provided afterwards.

The Forest Service requires you to wear long sleeves and long pants, sturdy work boots or hiking shoes. Bring a water bottle/hydration pack, sunscreen and trail snacks, but lunch will be provided afterwards. We will supply tools and other required safety gear, including hard hats and gloves (though you’re welcome to bring your own if you have them).

No experience is necessary, as trail crew leaders will cover safety training and tool use. We always have a great time, and while the work is hard, the reward of being able to later ride a trail that you helped restore is a huge reward by itself.

This is one of the most iconic and classic Southern California backcountry rides, and we’re excited to get it completely restored with the generous support of REI and the National Forest Foundation.

CORBA Awarded Grant from REI

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

CORBA’s trail crew was recently awarded a grant from REI for the restoration of the Strawberry Peak trail. Strawberry Peak Trail was severely damaged in the Station Fire of 2009, and remains closed to all users.

Most of the trail was devastated by winter rains in the two winters after the great fire had decimated the vegetation. Above average rainfall and heavy storms sent debris flows across the trails. Wooden retaining walls that supported the trail were burned away and need to be replaced. The trail is in need of much work.

We hope to re-route around this troublesome section near Redbox

We hope to re-route around this troublesome section near Redbox

The REI grant will be matched with funds from the National Forest Foundation, as much of the trail lies in the Big Tujunga drainage, a designated NFF Treasured Landscape. The funds will be used for the purchase of additional tools, materials needed for the repairs and supplies for volunteers. Additionally, the funds allow for a private contractor to be utilized to do some of the heavy work, allowing volunteers to repair the retaining walls and do the finish tread work. We will also work alongside other groups, including the Sierra Club to restore this iconic and much-loved trail.

When reviewing the trail post-fire, the particularly troublesome section of trail where the trail leaves the old Barley Flats fire road, was a deep and long ravine. We proposed re-routing this section of trail to avoid the fall line rocky section. That re-route is pending review by the Forest Service. We hope to have approval for the re-route in time for the IMBA Trail Care Crew’s visit on October 20/21.

Over the coming year we will have regular work days on the Strawberry Peak trail. If you care about this trail, watch our calendar for upcoming trailwork dates, and email to let us know your interest. We plan to kick off the trailwork with an upcoming visit from the IMBA Trail Care Crew.

A previous REI grant allowed CORBA to restore several trails in the Station Fire burn area which are now open and in use. We are truly grateful to REI for their ongoing support of this, and many other CORBA programs.

Angeles National Forest Open and Closed Trails – May 2012

Friday, May 25th, 2012

As we approach three years since the Station Fire began, the Forest Service has revised the closure order which has been in place to allow the forest to recover, and to protect the safety of forest visitors. This is an updated list from our May 2011 list of open and closed trails.

The two questions we have been asked more than any other recently: “which trails are closed in the Angeles National Forest?  and “which trails are open in the Angeles National Forest?”

According to the Forest Service map of the station fire closure area at the list below shows the status, effective May 25 2012, of some of the more popular trails that were affected by the Station Fire. Keep in mind that even though these trails are in the newly opened areas of the forest, the individual trails may be signed closed.  Please respect any trail closure signs and stay off those trails for your own safety and the recovery of the forest.

Many of the trails will not be in good shape, so be prepared for surprises like downed trees, slides, washouts, ruts, and other hazards. Many trails have been drastically changed from before the Station Fire. Many fire roads have not yet been graded and may be much narrower and in very poor condition with ruts and washouts. All the usual caveats about trail safety apply so use the trails safely and responsibly, and be especially careful the first time you travel on one of the newly opened trails.

Opened Trails (As of May 25, 2012) 

  • Brown Mountain (to the saddle)
  • El Prieto
  • Gabrielino (JPL to Paul Little)
  • Gabrielino (Switzers to Redbox to Chantry)
  • Bear Canyon Trail
  • Sam Merrill Trail
  • Castle Canyon Trail
  • Sunset Ridge Trail
  • Mt. Lowe West Trail
  • Idlehour Trail
  • Kenyon Devore Trail
  • Rim Trail
  • Sturtevant Trail
  • Santa Clara Divide Truck Trail (Dillon Divide to Mt. Gleason to Three Points – non-motorized only)
  • Chilao Loop/Mt. Hillyer
  • Silver Mocassin
  • Valley forge
  • Mueller Tunnel
  • Mt. Disappointment
  • San Gabriel Peak
  • Earl Canyon
  • Haines Canyon
  • Rim of the Valley
  • Hoyt
  • Stone Canyon
  • Trail Canyon
  • Condor Peak
  • Fall Creek Canyon
  • Mt Lukens Fire Road
  • Grizzly Flat Fire Road
  • Doc Larsen
  • Rattlesnake Trail
  • Everything east of Chilao

Keep in mind that even though these trails are in the opened area, the individual trails may be signed closed (And those signs mustl be respected). Many of the trails will not be in good shape, so be prepared for surprises like downed trees, massive ruts or slides, washouts, and other hazards.

Closed Trails (Until Further Notice)

  • Strawberry Peak
  • Tom Sloan
  • Dawn Mine
  • Millard Falls
  • Upper Brown Mountain (Saddle to the Summit/Ken Burton)
  • Ken Burton
  • Gabrielino from Switzers to Paul Little
  • Crescenta View
  • Alder Creek
  • Colby Canyon
  • Josephine
  • Vetter Mountain

In addition to the above a separate closure remains in effect for the Williamson Rock area  (Closure Map is available).

50% of Station Fire Closure to Re-open

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Angeles National Forest supervisor Tom Contreras and District Ranger Mike McIntyre, on Wednesday announced that they were hoping to get approval from the regional director to open approximately 50% of the Station Fire closure area. It only requires a review and a signature, and we hope to have that on Thursday [May 24], in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

Last year the closure order was revised a few days before the memorial day weekend.

The area slated for opening includes everything west of Fall Creek fire road (3N27), which descends from Mount Gleason Road to Big Tujunga Canyon.  Trails in the newly opened area include Stone Canyon, Condor Peak, Trail Canyon and Mendenhall Ridge. Some work has been done on Stone Canyon, Condor Peak trail, and Trail Canyon trail, though their readiness for bicycling is unknown. If these or other trails are not in safe enough condition for public use, the trails will be signed as closed, even though the area is technically open.

Condor Peak was once slated for a wilderness designation, and as a show of protest, CORBA and IMBA led a mass group ride up Condor Peak to demonstrate its viability as a backcountry multi-use trail including bicycles. It’s a steep and challenging trail, and we’ll be very happy to see it opened again.

The announcement was made at a Sierra Club event at Eaton Canyon Nature Center on Wednesday evening, March 23, 2012.  Forest Service staff reported on the station fire recovery efforts. Nathan Sill, staff biologist for the forest reported pre- and post-fire population counts of several endangered species including the Arroyo Toad, Arroyo Chubb, Mountain Yellow-legged frog, Spotted Owl and others. Most of the species covered have shown significant population increases since the fire and are recovering well.

Steve Bear, forester for the Angeles National Forest reported on the controversial re-forestation efforts and the plans for the next five years.

This post will updated when the closure revision is officially announced.

Update: Maps have been released showing the closure: