Grizzly Flat

Angeles National Forest

Locate the trailhead.

handy map at the trailhead
A handy map to the trailhead found at the end of the road which is not, according to the map, where the trail starts.

Grizzly Flat is a short way up the north end of the Dark Canyon trail. The south end starts in Oakwilde, about 4 miles up Arroyo Seco starting near JPL. It is marked with one of those flat, brown stick signs, but rather than simply saying "trail" as they normally do, it is well marked with promises that the trail further on through Dark Canyon is unmaintained and likely to take your life if you try to travel along it. The north end, in contrast, starts about a mile along Big Tujunga, which is reportedly difficult to pass in high water, and doesn't really have a trail along it from the road. It is true that the route is difficult to determine among all the choices for the first section along the creek, but it is easy to find as it heads upward away from the water. From there is is well maintained trail bed all the way to the fire roads higher up.

top of the watertower at Grizzly Flat, and it says so
A good sign you've made it to Grizzly Flat to find a water tank marked as such.

I picked up a couple hiking companions for the first section of the trail. They had been planning to hike with a group that were going up Condor Peak, but since they asked people for the trail up Fox Mountain, a perfectly good destination about a mile short of Condor Peak that no one actually pays attention to, they couldn't get directions to it when they got lost. I pointed across the way to the trail making its way up the south facing slope and said that's where they wanted to be, but they couldn't pick it out. The trail was surprisingly visible far across the valley. I lost these companions as they stopped for lunch.

The trail did have one tough spot just after the biggest yucca leaves I've ever seen where the bed was sliding and rubble above was sliding down onto it. Otherwise it was quite nice. I got to the flat and looked around a bit. My new companions made it up as well and wondered how I'd passed the slick spot without hiking poles. I said, "Carefully." I'm not sure how hiking poles would help, but people seem to like them. They were done hiking with the flat, so I guess this was a much better trail for them than the one they were planning on since that is much longer before getting to anything.

structures on the flat
Bits and pieces of old structures that were built up on the flat.

The trail up to the flat ended in a fire road. I continued up the fire road for a ways until a saddle at the top of the ridge where a number of other roads met. Just past the saddle, I was able to get a view to the south and decided to turn around to go back.

trees in a valley
A little bit of the climb above the flat.

Condor Peak
Condor Peak and Fox Mountain to its right. The trail around Fox and up to Condor can be seen about the middle and in the lower left.

view from the saddle
A glance over the ridge and to the mountains to the south.

overgrown fire road lined with odd trees for the area
The fire road on the far side of the saddle was lined with trees that didn't seem to belong to the area.

Fire roads also head upwards from here and are in better shape.

tree farm from above
The flat from above. It seems pretty obvious the area was a tree farm.

Getting back to the flat, I decided to do a little drawing before continuing down the trail.

me in front of a huge yucca plant
Me in front of the biggest bunch of yucca I've ever seen. It must have been a ball of over 5 feet in diameter.

some euaclyptus spindles on the mountain side
Eucalyptus trees seem to have gotten everywhere.

Big Tujunga
Back to the flat by Big Tujunga Creek.

something metal and curved and set in the ground
I don't know what it is, but it is set into the ground very solidly.

narrow cleft in the land
One of a few narrow canyons coming down to the creek along the way.

a cliff and a cleft in the land
Another little canyon into the creek.

©2008,2012 Valerie Norton
Posted 15 March 2012

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  1. I was sent a delightful bit of history for this area in the form of an issue of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley's Crescenta Valley Ledger. The issue can be found here. On page two, it talks about the cabin and adds interesting items about firefighting as some of the original back country fire fighters were the builders of it.

  2. so interesting! I just made my way there and back for the third time this month. I am intrigued by the difference between your photos before the station fire and the way it looks now. Everywhere there is evidence of regrowth and abundance along the trail. Its very clear that the forest is refreshed by fire....and thank goodness its taken out much of the eucalyptus that mars the landscape!

  3. Hard to believe it's more than a decade now. I still haven't seen it again. I had heard reports not so much of abundance as of overabundance. That was back when I got the email about the history linked in the comment above. It's probably changing again since the work restoring the trail that was going on then.


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