Bouquet Canyon to Sierra Pelona via Pacific Crest Trail
- Location: Liebre Mountains north of Los Angeles, east of I-5 and west of Highway 14. From the north, take Highway 14 to Avenue N. Turn right and head west for 4.6 miles. Turn left on Godde Hill Road and follow it 3.1 miles to its end at Elizabeth Lake Road. Turn right and go 0.7 miles to Bouquet Canyon Road. Turn left and go 4.3 miles to a dirt turnout on the left side of the road where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses. From the south, take Highway 14 to Sand Canyon Road. Turn left and head northwest for 2 miles to Sierra Highway. Turn right and go 0.4 miles to Vasquez Canyon Road. Turn left and follow Vasquez Canyon 3.6 miles to its ending at Bouquet Canyon Road. Turn right and follow Bouquet Canyon Road for a total of 13.7 miles, past the reservoir and the junction with Spunky Canyon Road, to a dirt turnout on the right side of the road where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses. Though “Trails of the Angeles” indicates that a National Forest Service Adventure Pass is required to park here, there is no notice to that effect at the parking area; recent policy changes that allow free parking at unimproved National Forest areas such as this one would seem to indicate that the pass is not required. However if you want to buy a pass just to be sure, or for use at other trail heads that require it, click here.
- Agency: Angeles National Forest, Santa Clarita and Mojave Rivers Ranger District
- Distance: 5.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,400 feet
- Suggested time: 3 hours
- Difficulty rating: PG-13 (elevation gain, distance)
- Best season: Year round but hot during the summer and possible snow during the winter; also known for high winds
- USGS topo map: Sleepy Valley
- Recommended guidebook: Trails of the Angeles
- More information: Video about the hike here; Pacific Crest Trail association home page here
- Rating: 7
This enjoyable section of the Pacific Crest Trail climbs the south slope of Bouquet Canyon to the long ridge of Sierra Pelona, offering panoramic views along the way. The nearly three mile ascent makes a good workout and can be done in an afternoon, although hikers wanting more of a challenge can either continue along the P.C.T. or follow the Martindale Ridge Fire Road to Mt. McDill.
From the turnout, head south on a short spur leading to the Pacific Crest Trail. The P.C.T. ascends steadily for the first 0.9 miles, passing a tall oak and climbing the side of the ridge. There’s not much in the way of shade trees, but if you get off to an early start, the sharply rising ridge will block out most of the sun.
Just under a mile from the start, you reach a junction. Take a hard left and continue following the Pacific Crest Trail as it makes a short but noticeably steep ascent to a bench. The views include Martindale Canyon and distant Bouquet Reservoir to the west (right) and the Antelope Valley to the east. Far below to the north, the road winds through the canyon.
Past the bench, the grade continues to be moderate and enjoyable. The trail weaves in and out of several stands of black oaks and through gently sloping meadows. At about 2.5 miles, you pass Bear Spring, a nice place to sit and rest, although it can’t be counted on for water.
Just under three miles from the start, the trail passes by a particularly impressive oak and enters a field where it meets up with the fire road, the turnaround point. Here, you can enjoy a view that on clear days includes peaks on the north slope of the San Gabriels across the Santa Clarita Valley.
Text and photography copyright 2014 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. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
Hi David – do you know if this hike has been affected by the various fires? And, sorry – I’m not clear – does one hike South on the PCT?
Hello Dianne, to answer your questions I have not heard anything about fire-related closures of this area of the P.C.T. from the various through-hikers I follow so I’m assuming it’s open. I do not have a sense of what the damage from recent fires has been. As for the direction, yes, it is south, so I updated the post accordingly.
Hi David – we did this hike in September. It’s a long way to travel for the length of the hike, but an interesting drive in, through lots of hidden cabins along the creek. You describe the trail well. It’s open and dusty, but it does have it’s beauty. We went on a fairly windless day and the wind at the top was amazing. So, yes, bring a jacket! and don’t go on a windy day. We saw a lovely deer at the top. We lengthened the trip a bit by going west to the next hump. We didn’t do McDill, having aversions to fire roads.
Glad you enjoyed it! I do think that that area tends to be overlooked by a lot of hikers. While the Sierra Pelonas might not have the amazing views that the higher San Gabriel peaks provide, they do have their own appeal.