Miles 342-369.4 of the northbound PCT: Tracing a line across the sky above Los Angeles.



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Alert: As of the time of this writing in 2021, the PCT is currently closed from Dawson Saddle trail junction to Three Point trailhead (approx.

NB miles 381-403) as part of Forest Service closure following a wildfire in 2020.

An official reroute has not been designated, and there is no easy way around.

The [Pacific Crest Trail Association is currently recommending that people find alternate transportation using Highway 2, rather than walking this road due to safety concerns.

Described below is the normal route of the PCT, in anticipation of the ban being lifted in the future.

You are responsible for knowing the current status and deciding your best course of action.

Check the PCTA [Southern California closures]( page for the latest updates. In this latter part of California Section D, the northbound PCT continues its traverse of the San Gabriel Mountains, tracing a line across the sky above Los Angeles.

The major highlight comes early on, climbing to the top of Mount Baden Powell for a 9,400-foot perch with vantage in all directions.

After crossing over this obstacle, the rest of the section presents generally easy walking among shady forest, but trending downhill to warmer elevations.

Trailside amenities are relatively frequent, in the form of picnic areas and campgrounds, both in the backcountry and at highway crossings.

Water can be found at several springs and streams in this stretch.

Though never far as the crow flies from Los Angeles, these 85 miles of the PCT can feel a world away from the metropolis, as the trail delves into the surprisingly complex range of the San Gabriels. This segment begins by leaving Inspiration Point and Highway 2 (NB mile 369.4), but the trail soon meets[Grassy Hollw]( picnic area and visitor center (NB mile 370.3) .

Normally there is water here, but as of spring 2021 the facilities remain closed and the water turned off due to COVID-19.

A date for reopening has not been announced. Continuing on, the PCT winds along a forested ridgetop well above the highway, but then drops back to the road at Vincent Gap (NB mile 374).

This is the popular trailhead for the infamous ascent of Mount Baden Powell.

From here the trail takes some 40 switchbacks through ancient pine groves, passing the side trail to Lamel Spring (NB mile 375.9) along the way.

Note that the PCT itself does not quite reach the summit of the mountain, but the brief detour is not to be missed.

On top is a 360-degree view of the range and the vast basins on either side.

There are some suitable campsites near the summit and along the ridge to the west, in case you want to spend the night here at high elevation, overlooking the lights of LA. It’s not just the steepness of the PCT that earns Baden Powell its formidable reputation, but also its north-facing aspect at high elevation.

In spring the snow and ice can be treacherous, and the hazards might worsen as the trail extends along the precipitous west ridge.

In early season, traction devices and perhaps even an ice axe should be carried for safety. As the PCT continues it trends downward in elevation, bypassing a few lesser summits along the ridge.

Views remain phenomenal off the south side of the range, over the cities and the coast.

Another spring comes near [Little Jimmy Trail Camp]( (NB mile 383.7), which is a comfortable place to spend the night.

The trail then alternates sharply up and down for the next few miles, and crosses the highway three times.

The third crossing, near Eagles Roost Picnic Area (NB mile 390.2) is the start of the endangered species closure area.

The detour along the highway and Burkhart Trail is what’s mapped here, not the actual PCT.

Note: This long-standing closure area is within the current Bobcat Fire closure area.

It is not known how the status will change once the fire closure is lifted.

See the [PCTA Southern California closures]( page for updates. Another good place to spend the night is [Cooper Canyon Trail Camp]( (NB mile 395.2), where a stream flows nearby.

From there the trail meanders in tandem with the highway for the next few miles, in and out of little creek valleys that are usually dry.

The final crossing of Highway 2 is at Three Points trailhead (NB mile 403.1), and from there the PCT heads off into more remote territory––an expanse of beige hills in the lee of the range, where the pines gradually give way to sagebrush and yucca. Here the trail wanders up and down for many miles, in seemingly aimless rambling among disjunct ridgelines.

The eventual destination is the small town of Agua Dulce and the end of Section D, but that can remain a few uneventful days away after leaving the high mountains.

Even as the trail crosses these arid hills, it passes a few convenient campsites near water sources, most notably [Sulphur Springs Trail Camp]( (NB mile 406.6) and Fountainhead Spring (NB mile 411).

The next water comes at Mill Creek Summit (NB mile 418.6), from a spigot at the day use area next to a fire station.

It’s a fairly long stretch without water from there, with the next source being North Fork Ranger Station (NB mile 436.1). An opportunity to break up this section comes at Soledad Canyon Road (NB mile 444.2), where the town of Acton is several miles east, and a [KOA campground]( is nearby.

The campground has a small grocery and also accepts resupply packages.

Just north of this road is a small monument commemorating the “Golden Spike” ceremony to complete the Pacific Crest Trail is 1993.

From there the trail climbs into more desert hills, and eventually descends to dive under Highway 14.

Coming out of a dark tunnel, you’ll emerge in a leafy canyon beneath massive, tilted layers of sandstone.

These are the Vasquez Rocks, famous for their standout geology and as a backdrop for Hollywood films.

The trail picks its way up and through the formations, passing a popular day use area and trailhead.

From there the PCT joins the paved roads of Agua Dulce, and follows the main road through the center of the small town, which offers restaurants and Airbnb-style accommodations.

Permits: In this part of Angeles National Forest, permits are not required for hiking through or for backcountry camping, but an [Adventure Pass]( is required for parking at trailheads.

Campfires are not generally allowed, but anyone camping overnight may still need the [California Fire Permit]( for use of a camp stove. Sources: