Hiking Above Los Angeles

Buckhorn to Little Rock Creek
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Pleasant View Ridge
Mountain pine along Pleasant View ridge. (Roy Randall)
Trail at a Glance
Hike Length : 14 miles round trip; 3300' elevation gain
Classification : Strenuous
Season : May-October
Topo Map : Waterman Mountain, Juniper Hills

Long, sinuous Pleasant View Ridge lives up to its name. The hiker resting in the shade of tall Jeffrey pines on, its crest can gaze far out into the seemingly endless Mojave Desert. On the dearest of days, you can make out the tawny, sharp-toothed ramparts of the southern Sierra Nevada, over 60 miles distant.

Looking at Pleasant View Ridge from the Angeles Crest Highway, you. may think it close at hand. But it's farther than you realize. Separating the ridge from -the main body of the range is the V-shaped trench of Little Rock Creek, a desert-bound creek whose canyon holds sylvan surprises where you might least expect to find them. To reach Pleasant View, you must descend into the deep canyon and climb up the other side.

Be in shape for this one. It's up and down both ways, with little level going. If the day's warm, carry two canteens.


Drive up the Angeles Crest Highway to the Buckhorn Campground hikers' parking area, 34 miles from La Canada.

Walk down the rear access road into the campground and turn right, Follow the trail that leaves from near the east end of the campground and descends to Little Rock Creek, 2 miles. Here you intersect the Rattlesnake Trail coming down from Eagles Roost Picnic Area. Take the left fork and follow the Burkhart Trail as it steadily climbs around a ridge, crosses a small creek (water in spring and early summer) and zigzags 3 1/2 miles up 1300' to Burkhart Saddle.

Here you have three options.

You can enjoy the desert view from here and return the way you came.

You can turn left (west) and follow an unmarked trail up around the slopes of Will Thrall Peak to a pleasant, Jeffrey-forested bench just west of the high point, then scramble up to the 7983' summit of Pleasant View Ridge, slightly more than a mile, with 1000' elevation gain, from the saddle. From here the view is really outstanding.

You can descend the desert side of the Burkhart Trail to Devil Punchbowl (see Trip 67), if you can arrange a very long car shuttle.

Whichever option you take, you are certain to enjoy this northern extremity of the San Gabriels, where the aroma of desert sage blends with the sweet scent of mountain pine and cedar.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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