Big Pines Nature Trail

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On the Big Pines Nature Trail

Text and photography copyright 2011 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.

Big Pines Nature Trail

  • Location: Big Pines.  From I-15, take the highway 138 exit and head west for 8.6 miles.  Turn left on Angeles Crest Highway (route 2) and drive 9 miles to the center of town.  Park at the visitor center at the intersection with Big Pines Highway, or across the street at the Blue Ridge trailhead.  A National Forest Service adventure pass ($5 per day or $30 for the year) is required for parking. Click here to purchase.
  • Agency:  Angeles National Forest/Santa Clara and Mojave Rivers Ranger District
  • Distance: 0.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 200 feet
  • Suggested time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty rating: G
  • Best season: Year-round
  • USGS topo map:  Mescal Creek
  • Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
  • More information: here
  • Rating: 4
This short loop makes a nice introduction to the back country of the Angeles National Forest, especially for those not used to hiking at this altitude (almost 7,000 feet).  It can easily be combined with other nearby hikes, such as Lightning Ridge or Big Horn Mine.
Climb the stairs in back of the visitor’s center (as of this writing, they’re doing some construction on the front of the building, but you can still access the trail by going around).  Take a right and begin the loop.  Interpretive plaques describe the trees, which include Coulter and Jeffery pines and black oaks.  The views aren’t quite what they are from the nearby Lightning Ridge trail, but you still get a nice feel for the area.
The trail crosses a road, continues to climb, and then makes its descent.  You cross the road a second time (follow the signs) and soon arrive back at the visitor center.

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