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
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.
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.
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.
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:
Iron Mountain (#2)
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):
Brown Mountain (to the saddle)
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
Kenyon Devore 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)
Mt. Lukens road (once the highway opens)
Everything east of Chilao
Upper Brown Mountain (Saddle to the Summit/Ken Burton)
Gabrielino from Switzers to Paul Little
Condor Peak Trail
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.
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.
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.
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.”