Last week, my little sister and her boyfriend stayed with me for a few days. As is my policy with all out-of-town guests, they were allowed to do the generic Hollywood type stuff as long as they agreed to join me on a hike. And so, for the second weekend in a row, I found myself in Santa Anita Canyon.

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This time we did the easier canyon loop with a big group of friends and had a great time … even with that murderous ascent up the road to Chantry Flats at the very end of the hike. We got some first-timers on the trail, guided a friend’s dog to his first river-crossing, and even met some Modern Hiker fans (hi, guys!). But one question lingered: what can they do to improve that parking situation?

Mount Wilson 001

Anyone who’s hiked in this area knows you pretty much have to get there at dawn to even have a fighting chance for one of the highly-coveted parking spaces. Even at the still early (by LA standards) starting time of 8:30, I had to circle and stalk for 20 minutes before finally giving up and parking further down Santa Anita Canyon Road. Not only is it demoralizing to spend so much time looking for parking, but it also can’t be good for the road or the environment of the canyon to have all that traffic.

Several National Parks have already put the brakes on auto traffic, utilizing centralized lots and shuttles to let hikers in without their four-wheeled companions. Wouldn’t it be great if something similar could be done for this amazing canyon? A lot or garage in Arcadia or Sierra Madre with a routine shuttle service to and from Chantry Flats would not only significantly reduce the impact from autos on that canyon road (and the headache of trying to park up there), but it would also make it a lot easier for residents to access and enjoy the area, too.

I know there are a lot of other things that need funding in the Angeles National Forest right now, but with so many areas off-limits from the Station Fire, Angelenos could use some easier access to those areas of the Forest that are still open. Maybe if the San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area proposal goes through, we could get a couple federal dollars for projects like these.

Are there any other areas you’d like to see some increased accessibility?

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