Top Ten Los Angeles Adventures
Angeles National Forest has an unfortunate (though not entirely undeserved) reputation as a haven for miscreants and scoundrels. But don't let the graffiti and the occasional recovery of a dead body scare you—the biggest secret these mountains hold is an unlikely ecosystem replete with tall cedars and ferns that few city dwellers have the will to explore.
From the Buckhorn Campground, you'll have easy access to the best hikes in the San Gabriels. Choose a campsite near the Burkhart trailhead (number 18 is a good one). You'll pitch your tent at the edge of a high-altitude arroyo that dips down to a pine-rimmed creek.
Consider this your chance to take a peek at the Pacific Crest Trail without having to commit. A mile and a half from the edge of the campground, you'll cross the PCT as it passes through the San Gabriels on its 2,650-mile path from Mexico to Canada. Hike a little farther and you'll reach the 25-foot Cooper Canyon Falls, which tumbles into a pool of shimmering blue-green water that looks much too clear to possibly exist in Los Angeles.
Directions: From the 210 Freeway, drive north on Angeles Crest Highway into the San Gabriels. Campground entrance is on the left after 34 miles.
Travel Time: Approximately 1 1/2 hours
Fee: $12 per night
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication