Featured in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!
Text and photography copyright 2010 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
Blue Ridge Trail
- Location: Angeles National Forest near Big Pines. From I-15 north of San Bernardino, take highway 138 at Cajon Pass and drive west for 8.6 miles. Turn left on highway 2 (Angeles Crest Highway) and drive 10 miles, through Wrightwood, and park on the left side of the street, across from the Big Pines Visitor Center. A National Forest Service adventure pass ($5 for a day or $30 for the year) is required for parking. Click here to purchase.
- Agency: Angeles National Forest (Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers Ranger District)
- Distance: 4.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,100 feet
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Altitude, elevation gain)
- Best season: April – November
- USGS topo maps: “Mt. San Antonio”, “Mescal Creek”
- More information: here, here (Includes trail description all the way to Mt. Baldy); Big Pines area map here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 8
The Blue Ridge Trail sounds like it should belong in Kentucky, but in fact it can be found in northeastern L.A. County. The trail offers a nice perspective on the back country of the San Gabriel Mountains. It can be used to access Mt. Baldy (see the link above), but this post will cover the 4-mile round trip to the Blue Ridge Campground and the Pacific Crest Trail. When I did this hike, I was surprised to see a group of about 20 nuns, in full habit, getting some fresh air.
From the parking area, follow the highway east a few dozen yards to a dirt road where the signed Blue Ridge Trail begins. The early portion of the trail is level; the main ascent begins after crossing a wooden footbridge. The grade is steady without being too steep and as you climb you get some good views to the east, through a mix of pines and oaks.
Just over a mile from the start, you reach a wooden bench where you can sit and enjoy the view. Although this marks the half-way point of distance, more than half of the elevation gain still remains. The trail makes its way farther up the ridge, negotiating a few more switchbacks before leveling out at the Blue Ridge Campground and the Pacific Crest Trail (2.2 miles from the start.)
If you feel like traveling farther, head left on the P.C.T. and head southeast for a short distance to a spot where you get a great view of Mt. Baldy. Baldy’s front side is readily visible and recognizable even to non-hikers, but the back side is less commonly seen.