Difficulty PG Distance 2.1 to 5 miles General information: Dogs allowed General information: Hikes with free parking Rating: 4-6 San Gabriel Mountains Season: All year

Three Points to Bandido Campground via Silver Moccasin Trail


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    • Location: Three Points, Angeles National Forest. From I-210 in La Canada, follow the Angeles Crest Highway (highway 2) northeast for 28.4 miles. Turn left onto Sulphur Springs Rd. and make an immediate left into a large parking lot.
    • Agency: Angeles National Forest
    • Distance: 4.2 miles
    • Elevation gain: 500 feet
    • Suggested time: 2 hours
    • Difficulty rating: PG
    • Best season: Year round but hot during the summer and potentially treacherous snowy conditions during the winter
    • Dogs: Allowed; exercise caution on warm days
    • Cell phone reception:  None
    • Restrooms: Vault style toilets at the trail head and at the Bandido Campground
    • Water: None
    • Camping/backpacking: Besides the Bandido Group Campground, the nearest campground is Horse Flats, about half a mile south of Bandido via the Silver Moccasin Trail. The ridge that marks the high point of this route (see description below) may be an option for camping.
    • Recommended gear: sun hat insect repellent
    • More information: Trip description and photo gallery here
    • Rating: 6

This hike along a lightly traveled stretch of the Silver Moccasin Trail makes an enjoyable introduction to the middle high country of the San Gabriels. For casual hikers, it features enough climbing and descents to make a decent workout and veterans who want to do longer trip can continue on to Mt. Hillyer.

From Three Points, follow the signed trail between the restrooms and the picnic tables down into an oak-shaded ravine. Head right at the junction (the left fork is the Pacific Crest Trail, which heads east toward Mt. Waterman). For the next mile or so, the Silver Moccasin Trail parallels Santa Clara Divide Road, providing panoramic (albeit power line obstructed) views to the south and east, notably of Mt. Wilson and Strawberry Peak. If visibility is exceptionally good, you may see Orange County’s Saddleback and even Catalina Island. Also noteworthy are the granite rock formations that dot the hillside, including one that resembles a duck’s bill and another that looks like a baseball glove. There’s not much shade; many of the black oaks on this section of the trail were burned in the Station Fire.

Just over one mile from the beginning, you start the first significant ascent of the route, climbing about 100 feet to a pine-dotted ridge. On the north side of the ridge, you descend about 250 feet along a pleasantly shaded slope into a meadow. Here, just over two miles from the start, a short spur leads you to the Bandido Group Campground, where you can sit at a picnic table beneath some tall pines and enjoy the solitude before retracing your steps back to Three Points or continuing south on the Silver Moccasin Trail.

Silver Moccasin Trail, Angeles National Forest, CA
Looking south from the Silver Moccasin Trail
Silver Moccasin Trail, Angeles National Forest, CA
Granite boulders, Silver Moccasin Trail
Silver Moccasin Trail, Angeles National Forest, CA
Pines on the top of the ridge
Bandido Campground, Angeles National Forest, CA
Picnic area, Bandido Group Campground

Text and photography copyright 2017 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.

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