San Gabriel Mountains
Oftentimes, pictures of Pasadena show beautiful mountains in the background, those are the San Gabriel Mountains. The San Gabriels are part of the Angeles National Forest which was formed in 1908 by combining the San Gabriel, San Bernardino and (at the time) Santa Barbara mountain reserves—it was the first National Forest ever established in the United States. They seem a lot smaller in photos, it requires seeing them in person to realize that one-thousand square miles (1,600 km) make up the vast mountain range, it has several peaks, trails, campgrounds, villages where people live and work, an observatory, ski lifts and a zip line course.
There are several great trails, skill levels range from moderate to very difficult. A few highlights include Throop Peak which is incredibly scenic, Switzer Falls which leads to a waterfall, and Bridge to Nowhere trail that got its name from a bridge that was left unfinished after a flood. Hike Finder→
There are many camping options, including Millard Trail Camp, Bear Canyon Camp and Sturtevant Camp. Details→
Before traveling to the National Forest, visitors should purchase an Adventure Pass which is to be displayed on the windshield. They cost $5 per day and $30 per year, however, there are nearly twenty days throughout the year that are free, click here for specific dates. You can purchase an Adventure Pass online, several gas stations on the way to the National Forest also sell them, as well as as local sporting goods stores and other retailers. An “America the Beautiful” National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass can be used in lieu of an Adventure Pass. More→
Mount Baldy (Highest Peak)
Mount Baldy is actually named Mount San Antonio, at 10,064 feet (3,068 meters) it is the highest peak in the range. One the way up to the peak, you will find Mount Baldy Village (4,193 feet elevation | 1,278 meters) where there are some restaurants and homes.
Ski Resort and Zip Line Course
Further up Mount Badly, between 6,500 feet and 8,500 feet elevation (1,981 m to 2,590 m), you’ll find Mt Badly Ski Lifts featuring seasonal skiing and a zip line course. More→
California Historic Landmark
Angeles National Forest is registered as California Historical Landmark #717, for being the first National Forest in the state.
Mount Wilson Observatory
The inversion layer over Los Angeles creates more natural steady air over Mount Wilson than any other location in North America, making it ideal for astronomy and in particular for interferometry. The observatory’s Hooker telescope is one of the most famous telescopes in observational astronomy of the 20th century. It was used by Edwin Hubble to prove that the Universe goes beyond the Milky Way galaxy and showed that it was expanding. The discoveries made with the Hooker telescope fundamentally changed the scientific view of the Universe.
Mount Wilson Observatory Video