Looks like I just got a very nice early birthday present from Caltrans, as the CA-2 is scheduled to fully re-open at noon on Wednesday, May 20th.

The east-west Angeles National Forest thoroughfare has been closed since heavy snow damaged several sections of the road in the winter of 2005. Once it’s open, it will allow hikers easier access to several prominent peaks in the Central San Gabriels, including Mount Hawkins, Mount Islip, and Mount Baden-Powell – as well as backdoor access to the Crystal Lake area, which has been closed due to fire damage since 2005 (not a very good year for that part of the forest, I guess).

This news was first posted on a motorcycling forum, so you can probably expect a lot of noisy two-wheeled speed demons rocketing through the wilderness on that opening weekend. But hopefully, the animals will be used to the traffic again, as reserve USFS rangers have been assigned to drive portions of the repaired road while running their sirens, as a sort of early-warning system for wildlife that hasn’t seen cars in quite some time.

The LA Times’ Susan Carpenter filed a report from the road, after CalTrans let her take her motorcycle on the unopened stretch of highway. Again, lots of motorcycle love, not a lot of wilderness love – but there is some interesting footage of the new type of bridge that will hopefully prevent these long closures again.

Some of the forums have some nice aerial shots of the damage this road took back in 2005. If you’re headed up to enjoy these newly-opened sections of your National Forest, please drive carefully – watch out for rocks, snow, and speeding motorcycles.

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