Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mount Luken via Stone Canyon Trail


Date:
October 24,2011

Nearby City:
Sunland, CA

Driving Directions:
Take the 210 freeway and exit Sunland Blvd. toward Sunland Tujunga. Make a left at the light onto Sunland Blvd; signs for Sunland Tujumga. In 0.6 miles Sunland Blvd. turns into Foothill Blvd and then a left onto Oro Vista Ave.Continue onto Big Tujunga Canyon Rd. for 3.4 miles and turn right onto Doske Rd.
 Park at the end of the parking lot near the trailhead for Stone Canyon Trail.

Hours:
Sunrise to sunset

Difficulty:
Moderate- Difficult/ Strenuous

Why?
Once you cross the creek finding where the trail continues up to the summit is very hard to find. The trail is well marked all the way into the canyon till the trail zig-zags up the mountain side. The trail is all up hill with little areas to rest and practically no shade.


Elevation Gain/Loss:
3,200 foot gain

Entrance/ Parking Fee:
An Adventure pass is needed to park. You can buy one online or find a place that sells them near you.

Cell Service:
T-Mobile - I got a few bars at the parking lot but once in the canyon I lost service the rest of the trail.

Trails:
Mount Luken via Stone Canyon- 8 miles round trip

Trail Condition:
Despite being burned by the Station Fire in 2009 the trail is in excelent condition. There are a few parts that are a little hairy but doable and the trail is hard to find after you cross the creek.

Trail Directions:
Starting at the parking lot; walk to the end of it to signs marking the beginning of the Stone Canyon Trail. Follow this trail and cross the creek where you can, the creek can get very difficult to cross after a rain storm or after winter. After you cross the creek the trail is hard to find; we walked up towards the canyon to get a higher up view and then walked towards to wooden telephone poles where you will find a well marked trail lined with rocks.

Once at the trail follow it up into the canyon; orange ribbons line the trail. Soon the trail will zig-zag up a small mountain and then up the next mountain and so on. After a few hours we first heard then saw a beautiful waterfall down in the canyon below us. We are excited to go back and find a rout to this waterfall. Continue to follow the trail till you reach an open area with the trail junction take the trail leading down, Haines Canyon. The trail leads east on the ridge and meets the Mount Luken fire road. Follow the fire road to the summit that's covered with radio antennas.

There are other alternatives from the summit if you like walking fire roads. To the east after about 8 miles the fire road leads you to the Los Angeles Crest Highway or you can take a junction down to Grizzly Flat and reach the Grizzly Flat Trail to Stonyvale. The fire road to the west takes you down towards Haines Canyon and to Big Tujunga Canyon Road.

Other Activities:
Hiking
Dogs Allowed

Links:
Facebook
Youtube
Etsy
Adventure Pass
Angeles National Forest

Jessie's Thoughts:
This is a great training hike. I enjoyed the steep incline all the way to the summit and the few difficult spots with the skinny trail and erosion kept you on your toes the whole time. The views all along the trail are stunning; I got some cool looking pictures with the haze. There is a huge waterfall that is still flowing this late in the year. I recommend this trail for anyone wanting a great workout or for training; not a good trail for families or in my opinion dogs even though they are allowed on the trail.

Maps:

View Jessie's Trails in a larger map

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Santa Ynez Falls

Date/Time:
October 10, 2011
Update- March 20, 2012

Nearby City:
Pacific Palisades, CA

Driving Directions:
Coming from Los Angeles take the I-10 West and get on the CA-1 North/ Pacific Coast Highway; follow for 4.4 miles and make a sharp right onto Sunset Blvd. In 0.5 miles turn left onto Palisades Dr. and follow that road up into the canyon for 2.4 miles and make a left onto Vereda De La Monture and drive down till the road ends at two gated communities. There's parking on both sides of the road but there are signs for no parking between 8pm - 6am For the exact location of where to park check out Jessie's Trails on Google maps

Hours:
Sunrise to sunset

Difficulty:
Easy/Moderate

Why?
 The trail starts off well marked and sort of paved. Once you cross the round stepping stones only a few feet into the 3 mile trail it starts to get confusing. We got lost a few times by accidentally follow one of many trails leading from the main trail. Eventually the trail disappears all together.

Waterfall Height:
25ft

Elevation Gain/Loss:
250 ft gain

Entrance Fee:
None


Cell Service:
No service will work in this area except AT&T

Trails:
Santa Ynez Falls- 3 miles round trip
Rippet Ranch parking lot- 2.2 miles
Eagle Rock- 3.4 miles

Trail Condition:
This trail is not maintained

Trail Directions:
Starting at the gated entrance to the trail follow the steps down to a paved path past some storm drains. In a few feet you will pass the trailhead sign with warning signs and shortly beyond that some small round stepping stones. Follow the trail straight in front of you; its kind of hidden. Do not follow the paved rout up it dead ends. 

Now that you are on the dirt trail pay attention to what trail you follow. There are many trails that lead up out of the canyon and dead end at large rocks. (the trail never heads up and out of the canyon, it stays next to the creek)

Eventually after a few stream crossings you will come to a large post in the middle of the trail, this is waterfall trail junction at 0.5 miles into the trail. There's a small sign to your right pointing that way to the fall. You'll soon pass another trail sign with an arrow pointing you in the right direction. Soon the trail will end at the creek or continue up and out of the canyon and this point sit at one of the large rocks and put your water shoes on and follow the creek up stream. After a while of climbing over larger and larger rocks and fallen trees you will hit a small waterfall with a rope tied to a tree on your left. Use this rope to climb up the rock and continue further into the canyon until the trail ends at the main fall. 

There is a rope hanging to the left of the fall; this takes you to the top of the fall. We were unable to climb it because the rock was very slippery when wet. If you decide to climb up further you do so at your own risk.

Other Activities:
Hiking
NO DOGS ALLOWED ON THE TRAIL
No bikes

Links:
Facebook
Youtube
Buy Paracord Items
Topanga State Park
Google maps

Jessie's Thoughts:
I thought this trail would be great for a family or someone just starting out. The trail is very short but kind of hard to follow, just pay attention to wear you go and bring written directions of the trail and you should be fine. The mountain lion warning signs were a little unsettling so early in the morning and right off the bat found a rib cage and spine of a deer (picture below). Towards the end of the trail you are required to climb over large objects and even use rope to climb up a small waterfall. Once at the fall there was practically no water flowing and the shortness of the hike left us all wanting more.

Maps:

View Jessie's Trails in a larger map

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Black Star Canyon Falls

Date/ Time:
October 3, 2011
Update:  March 12, 2012

Nearby City:
Irvine, Ca

Driving Directions:
Coming from LA take the 5 freeway South to the 22 East freeway. Exit on the left to merge onto the CA-55 North toward Riverside, follow for 0.9 miles and Exit onto East Chapman Ave and follow for 4.1 miles. Continue onto East Santiago Canyon Rd. then in 1 miles continue straight to stay on East Santiago Canyon rd. for 5.4 more miles. Turn left onto Silverado Canyon Rd (no light, but its an odd little intersection you shouldn't have a problem seeing it.) In 0.1 miles turn left onto Black Star Canyon Rd. and follow it till you see a gate blocking the road and park off the road in the dirt on the right. To see exactly where to park on Google maps and get driving directions Click Here

Hours:
Sunrise to sunset

Difficulty:
Hard/ Strenuous

Why?
The trail starts off nice, paved for a majority of the trail. Once you take the small easily missed trail down to the creek is where you will slowly start to encounter larger and larger boulders along with huge piles of fallen trees and brush swept downstream by water. This is not for the faint of heart the trail does gets dicey in some areas. I would NOT recommend this for anyone with small/ young children or dogs of any size.

Waterfall Height:
50ft.

Elevation Gain/Loss:
Total Gain 300ft.

Seasons:
Year around- To see the falls at their best you will need to go after a good rain, keep in mind after it rains the stream may become more difficult to hike.

Entrance Fee:
None

Cell Service:
T-mobile - I got cell service at the trail head but it was spotty along the trail, most of the time I had no service.
Verizon- Some bars at the trailhead but spotty service along the trail.

Trails:
Black Star Canyon Falls- 6.6 miles

Trail Condition:
The longest part of the trail (distance) is paved but the part of the trail that will take you the longest (time) is the last 0.8 mile of the trail. Take your time when hiking up stream, the creek bed is strewn with large boulders, fallen trees, poison oak, and bees!

Trail Directions:
From the parking area, pass the gate and head north on the paved road for half a mile.  The trail swings to the right and heads deeper into the canyon, passing by private properties on both sides of the road. The road crosses Black Star Creek three times and soon afterward, at 2.5 miles, you reach a hairpin turn.  Look for a trail on the right, heading downhill into the canyon, toward the creek. There are 3 trails leading in 3 different directions. The first is the main trail continuing past the hair pin turn, the second is the middle trail leading past some concrete cylinders, the third trail (the one you will take) is to the right, going down into the canyon. It doesn't look like a trail but to be fair from this point on you really wont be following a trail. Follow the trail down to the creek and head left, upstream. Remember what this location looks like so you can find it on the way back, we stacked some rocks so we could see it on the way out.  Although it is now only 0.8 miles to the waterfall, this will probably take as long, if not longer, than the time you’ve hiked so far. This isn't a joke, someone had told me this and I thought it was. 

Please take your time and go slow for the rest of this hike.

After half a mile of climbing and scrambling, stay left as another canyon comes in from the right (east).  This brings you to the last–and most challenging–stretch of the hike. Soon after the junction, you arrive at your first major obstacle: a pile of huge boulders, with no easy way up. The best route is to start on the right side of the canyon and work your way diagonally to the left, climbing from one rock to another.  The next challenge is the first of three smaller waterfalls that you’ll encounter in route to the main one.  Just before you arrive at the waterfall, look for a path heading up above it on the right side of the canyon.  It’s loose and steep, but you can grab onto tree roots and rocks to make your way up.  This brings you to a rocky slope, with several smaller waterfalls running along it.  The rocks can be slippery, but this stretch isn’t too tough. Climb up the second waterfall on the left side; soon after you will  arrive at the third waterfall, and by this point you can get your first glimpse of the main waterfall. A steep but negotiable route takes you up the right side of this third small waterfall, and then you reach your destination!


Other Activities:
Hiking
Mountain Bike (If you can get it past the gate; Easy)
Trail Running

Links:
Photos (Subscribe Only)
Videos
Facebook Page
Knot the Ordinary- Store
Rice Krispie Creations- Store
Weather.com
Leave No TraceCleveland National Forest
Trabuco ranger district

Jessie's Thoughts:
I absolutely loved this trail and I can't wait to do it again! The fun part begins once you get off the main trail and start following the stream. This trail will take you hours longer than a different trail of the same distance. You are required to hop, jump, climb, slid, and shimmy up and down everything in your way. I can't think of a better way to spend my Monday then climbing and getting all bruised up. I don't recommend this trail for hikers who are not used to these type of trails where you have to navigate without a trail for hours or hikers with young children or dogs. There is no cell service, do not do this trail alone! It is very dangerous, we were out on the trail all day Monday and didn't pass a soul. So if you are a solo hiker please at least go on a weekend when its busy.

Maps:

View Jessie's Trails in a larger map

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