Fire Closures

I’ve noticed a lot of confusion, both in the comments and in emails, about the Station Fire Burn Area closures. A lot of people come to this site via Google searches looking for specific trails, and may not be as up-to-date on their National Forest news as the regular readers, so – I will do my best to keep up to date with the current Fire Closures in Southern California forests.

STATION FIRE CLOSURE AREA

mushroom fire cloud

From August 26th to October 16th, 2009, 251 square miles of land in and around the Angeles National Forest was burned in the Station Fire – the biggest fire in Southern California’s recorded history.

The United States Forest Service closed the entire Angeles National Forest for the duration of the fire. While the eastern half is now open to hikers, the majority of the western half remains closed for the foreseeable future.

Many of the trails I’ve written about for Modern Hiker are currently off-limits. You can drive on the major roads through the Forest, but as soon as you get out of your car and off the pavement, you are breaking the law and risking fines and incarceration.

UPDATE 9/14/12

The Williams Fire is now 100% contained and the San Gabriel Canyon is re-opened to hikers. Glendora Ridge and Glendora Mountain Roads may still be closed while road crews remove debris.

UPDATE 9/3/12

Over Labor Day Weekend, the Williams Fire broke out in the Angeles National Forest north of Glendora. The fire is currently 15% contained and has burned 3,600 acres. Until further notice, the CA-39 and all areas in the San Gabriel Canyon are closed to hikers – including the Bridge to Nowhere and Crystal Lake Recreation Area.

UPDATE 5/24/12

41,000 acres of the Station Fire Burn Area were opened today, including most of Big Tujunga Canyon. The ANF has yet to update their excellent zoomable map, but it appears everything west of Forest Road 3N27 (from Fall Creek Campground to the junction with 3N17 just east of Mount Gleason) is now open, including:

Trail Canyon
Fox Mountain
Condor Peak
Stone Canyon
Iron Mountain (#2)

UPDATE 5/16/11

A large section of the Station Fire Burn Area has been re-opened to hikers. The CA-2 is still closed between La Canada Flintridge and the Clear Creek Ranger Station, but the following trails are now accessible (thanks to Charlie of CORBA for the list):

OPEN TRAILS:
Brown Mountain (to the saddle)
El Prieto
Gabrielino (JPL to Paul Little)
Gabrielino (Switzers to Redbox to Chantry)
Bear Canyon Trail
Sam Merrill Trail
Castle Canyon Trail
Sunset Ridge Trail
Mt. Lowe West Trail
Idlehour Trail
Kenyon Devore Trail
Rim Trail
Sturtevant Trail
Santa Clara Divide Truck Trail (Dillon Divide to Mt. Gleason to Three Points)
Chilao Loop/Mt. Hillyer
Vetter Mountain (road access only)
Silver Mocassin (a section near Charlton Flats has been re-routed to the road)
Shortcut Canyon
Valley Forge
Mt. Lukens road (once the highway opens)
Earl Canyon
Haines Canyon
Doc Larsen
Everything east of Chilao

CLOSED TRAILS:
Strawberry Peak,
Tom Sloan
Dawn Mine
Upper Brown Mountain (Saddle to the Summit/Ken Burton)
Ken Burton
Gabrielino from Switzers to Paul Little
Grizzly Flat
Hoyt
Stone Canyon
Condor Peak Trail
Trail Canyon
Alder Creek
Colby Canyon
Josephine
Mueller Tunnel

Andrew Fish, Non-Motorized Trail Program Manager of the Angeles National Forest, also has further information:

-The Santa Clara Divide Road (3N17) is open only to non-motorized traffic.

-The Angeles received money from the Federal Highway Administration to repair the Mueller Tunnel. Hopefully, it will be open by the end of the year. No promises, though.

-Switzers remains closed because the contractor rebuilding it is putting in the finishing touches and then the Forest Service will have to accept it from him. Last I heard, it will open this summer, though. Once again, no promises.

-The Pacific Crest Trail through the burn area is open with one exception- the stretch between Mill Creek Summit and Mt. Pacifico Road.

You should also pay attention to what the message above says about the conditions of the trails. Many have been substantially altered by the Station Fire. Throughout the forest on the trails that are re-opening you’ll see bright yellow signs posted at the beginning that warn you of the potential issues that may encounter in a burn area. Take the time to read them and even more importantly, pay attention to them.

If you want more information or want to learn more before you go, I recommend that you call the Los Angeles River Ranger District office- 818 899 1900.

The Angeles National Forest is hosting a high-resolution topo map of the burn area here.

SPRINGS FIRE CLOSURE AREA

In early May, 2013, the western Santa Monica Mountains experienced the Springs Fire. Fueled by an especially dry winter and early Santa Ana Winds, the fire burned 28,000 acres and destroyed many popular trails in and near Point Mugu State Park.

UPDATE 5/24/13

Rangers have reopened all officially mapped trails within Point Mugu State Park. Some trails may be intermittently closed for repairs, damage, or other reasons. If you don’t know whether your intended route is on an officially mapped trail, please check with the rangers before heading out for a hike.

UPDATE 5/14/13

Rangers have reopened most of the trails in the Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa area. Some sections of the Satwiwa Loop Trail are closed, although hikers can still reach the Hidden Valley Overlook.

The Mishe Mokwa and Backbone Trailheads have reopened, although the Backbone Trail west of the Point Mugu State Park boundary is closed.

All trails in Point Mugu State Park remain closed.

UPDATE 5/7/13

Rangers in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area have closed ALL trails in Point Mugu State Park and all trails west of Yerba Buena Road (Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa, Point Mugu, Sandstone Peak and Mishe Mokwa Trailheads, and the Backbone Trail west of Mishe Mokwa to Yerba Buena Rd). Early reports say that the Mishe Mokwa Trail was mostly spared from damage and will likely re-open soon, but there’s been no official word on that yet. The nearby trail to the Grotto from Circle X Ranch is open.

According to a post from L.A. Mountains, Sycamore Cove and Mugu Beach day-use areas are open. They have also stated that Thornhill Broome campground will open later this week, the La Jolla Group Camp should open by mid-May, and the Sycamore Campground should open before Memorial Day. The Point Mugu State Park backcountry will remain closed “until further notice.”

25 Comments

  • mike p says:

    Does anyone know if the Gabrielino trail south-west of switzer picnic/falls is open?

  • matt says:

    found an official map from the forest department showing closed areas as of July 1, 2011 :-(

    http://maps.fs.fed.us/stationfire/

  • matt says:

    that sucks. I’m running out of new hikes to do lol. Does your map above include the re-openings listed here: http://montrose.patch.com/articles/station-fire-burn-areas-to-reopen-monday
    ?

  • matt says:

    is this accurate as of Oct 2011? I wanted to do Strawberry Peak on Thursday but I can’t get a straight answer on whether it is open or closed.

  • I hope these fires are going to stop soon, it seems like we have the whole southwestern part of the US burning just about. I hope the trails come back lush and greener than ever, that way they can be truly experienced :)

  • Modern Hiker says:

    Chip, the new map represents areas that have recently been opened. As of 5/16 the closure area border in that region is now CA-2 to the Bear Canyon Trail. Cogswell Reservoir is accessible, as are DeVore, West Fork, and Valley Forge Camps (although I don’t know what kind of condition they’re in – I know DeVore and West Fork have been the targets of recent reconstruction efforts).

  • Chip says:

    The fire map doesn’t seem accurate. As I recall the burn area extended to Red Box Road and stopped at Cogswell Reservoir.

  • Seth says:

    Millard campground is open, but getting to the falls is closed. The camp host is reporting anyone going past the fences. Couldnt get to the mine from there. I went yesterday

  • Bob says:

    Over half of the burned area will be open this Monday May16th 2011. Finally !

  • David Menkes says:

    Millard Campground is open but El Prieto is closed and will be for most of the rest of the year, with large KEEP OUT signs and the waterfall has a fence blocking the creek at Millard.

  • Pearl says:

    Thank you for this excellent resource. The Sierra Club hi resolution map works very well. When the map page opens, click on the Basemap Icon and then select USA Topo Maps in order to see topographical features and roads/trails. The more you zoom in the more details!

  • esther says:

    Dawn Mine out of Millard Campground: has anyone been up the creek? Is it passable?

    • lcalarea47 says:

      hi still closed 3-3-2012 from millard campground all way past gold mine . area closed even via sunset trail to mine etc is closed . all of millard creek closed .

  • helix66 says:

    For what it’s worth the 2 is still closed heading up from LaCanada. I wanted to hike Baden-Powell to get myself back into it again and thought I could drive up directly, unfortunately not. I had to take big tujunga cr even farther to upper big tujunga cr, maybe shorter than the 15, definitely more scenic. Also passed some burn areas that were crazy. Oddly when I got to the 2 there were no signs about a closure Southward (Westward??), which seemed like it could be a potential drag if you didn’t know better.

  • jennifer wolfe says:

    Has anyone actually been to Chilao recently? We were thinking of camping there next weekend (with a small group of young kids, so we love Chilao for its proximity to LA) but I’m wondering if it’s still so burnt out we should skip it this year and try out something else. …

  • helix66 says:

    The google map there seems the best to me since you can see the peaks and better detail than the ArcGIS map. I need to get my lazy self back out and up there, it’s been a while and I miss it!

  • STEPHEN SULLIVAN says:

    SEVEN VEHICLES PARKED AT CONDOR PEAK TRAILHEAD LAST WEEK . NO TICKETS, MAYBE IT’S OPEN?

    • Modern Hiker says:

      According to the Angeles National Forest web site, the Station Fire burn area is still closed. Those cars may have been BAER crew or reforestation scouts … or just very, very lucky they didn’t get tickets.

  • James Reasoner says:

    I have heard that the Switzer Falls area has re opened. Any truth to that. I am having a hard time finding any info at all. Today is April 20, 2010.

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