If there’s one thing that gets me more excited than hiking, it’s history — which is why I was very happy to see SoCalHikes post a slideshow of historical photos from Switzer’s Camp from a user on the San Gabriel Mountains Forums.

historical photo of switzer's camp in the angeles national forest
The slideshow is a fascinating look back in time at the so-called Golden Age of Hiking, a time before the Angeles Crest Highway, when adventurers intent on enjoying the San Gabriels had to trek into stone-built resorts in the middle of the mountains by foot or mule.

Many remnants of these resorts are still around today – most notably at Switzers, Icehouse Canyon, and – probably in the best condition – Echo Mountain and Santa Anita Canyon. But with most of the areas, all you’ll be able to see are the few remaining cabins and some stone foundations and ruins of what was there before the fires, avalanches, mudslides and floods of the mountains took their toll.

Whenever you can get your eyes on some of these old photos, you’ll be amazed at what used to exist up there. At Switzer’s, there were private cabins, tennis courts, extensive hiking trails, and a hand-built stone chapel on a cliff, complete with stained-glass windows and an upright piano. Forget those 5-star Vegas resorts, if I could stay at any hotel, it’d be at one of these.

… I wonder how that time machine technology is coming along.

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