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San Gabriel Trails Award & Segments

White Mountain.jpg

Sponsoring Council

Inland Empire

Award Dimensions

Main Patch: 3½'' x 3''; Segments: 3½'' x 1''


Backpack one or more nights on each of these trail segments in the San Gabriel mountains.

Map Link (where applicable)

External Reference (where applicable)

Detailed Requirements


The SAN GABREIL TRAILS AWARD has been developed to encourage Scout units to experience backpacking and exploring throughout the San Gabriel Mountain area and to encourage wise use and proper maintenance of the trails and campsites within the Angeles National Forest.

This award consists of a main patch and a series of segments which allow the unit many options as to the trails and trail camps which may be explored. Each segment requires an overnight backpack outing of at least five (5) scheduled hours.

John Robinson's "TRAILS OF THE ANGELES" is referenced for appropriate hikes in each segment area. Current USGS topographic maps should be consulted for trail details.


  1. Comply with the GENERAL REQUIREMENTS.

  2. Obtain a Local Tour permit from your council.

  3. Obtain required Fire Permit and Wilderness Permit. Check in and out with local USFS or State Park Ranger when possible. Comply with all USFS and State Park regulations.

  4. Complete a backpack application with a roster of participants, menus, itinerary, and trail profile. Submit the completed form to your council H.A.T. for approval at least two weeks prior to the outing.

  5. At least one of the required two adult leaders participating on the outing must have completed the basic backpack awareness course and hold a current Red Cross First Aid Certificate.

  6. Each participant shall carry a backpack containing all his personal gear and a share of the unit equipment and food for a minimum of five (5) scheduled backpack hours and sleep at least one (1) night in a backcountry trail camp in one of the listed segment areas. (1 backpack hour = 2 miles or 1000 feet in elevation gain).

  7. Each participant must work on a good turn project within the National Forest for each trail segment earned. Projects involving trail repair and maintenance require the supervision of a Trail Boss or Forest Ranger.

  8. After completing a weekend outing in one of the listed areas, the unit leader shall file an Award Application and a hike report listing all participants who earned this award and/or segment. (A three-day, two-night backpack of 10 or more backpack hours through two adjacent areas may earn both segments).



The trail along Bear Creek penetrates the rugged San Gabriel Wilderness. Recommended trail head starts at Highway 39 below Coldbrook Campground and terminates at the west fork of the San Gabriel River. The lower trail has many stream crossings and is heavily covered by poison oak. Trail camps are Bear Creek and Lower Bear Creek. A side trip for a peak climb is at Smith Mountain. Wilderness permits may be obtained at Glendora Ranger Station. Reference Robinson's hikes 73 & 74.


Buckhorn and Cooper Canyon were once campgrounds of the Shoshone Indians and later served as hunting camps for early settlers. The suggested trek is from Cloudburst Summit through Cooper Canyon to Mt. Williams. Use of the trail camp at Cooper Canyon is convenient for exploring the San Gabriel Mountain backcountry. Review Robinson's hike 60 through 66.


This trek takes you into the western side of the rugged Cucamonga Wilderness. Access is from the trail head at Ice House Canyon above Mt. Baldy Village or from Baldy Notch. A wilderness permit may be obtained at Mt. Baldy Ranger Station. The trail camp at Kelly's offers a base for side hikes to any of the high peaks, offering impressive views of the area. Consult Robinson's hikes 96 through 99.


Follow the valley of the east fork of the San Gabriel River from Vincent Gap to East Fork Ranger Station for a trip that offers adventure and isolation. Once a hunting ground for local Indians, the lower canyon has become a haven for weekend gold prospectors. Good trails take you to Mine Gulch Camp in the shadow of Mt. Baden-Powell, but the middle section to Bridge- to-Nowhere requires cross-country skills. Start at either end of the canyon. Wilderness permit is obtained at Big Pines or East Fork Ranger Stations. See Robinson's hikes 84 to 88.


Sheltered on the north slope of Mt. Islip, Little Jimmy is accessible from Islip Saddle, Crystal Lake or Vincent Gap via the Pacific Coast Trail (PCT). Several peaks nearby provide challenging side hikes with panoramas of the San Gabriels. Good water is at Little Jimmy Springs. Refer to Robinson's hikes 76 to 81.


Featuring the front range of the San Gabriels and scenic Eaton Canyon areas, Mt. Lowe also offers a trip into the historic past of the front range. Many of the access trails leading up from Altadena require steep climbs on exposed slopes. Trail camps at Mt. Lowe and Idlehour offer year-round water. A trek through Henninger Flats Forestry Station is worthwhile. Review Robinson's hikes 19 to 33.


A major portion of the Gabrielino Trail traverses this canyon. The Gabrielino Indians once migrated into these mountains gathering food. Sturtevant Falls in the lower canyon is worth the visit. Access to the area is from Chantry Flats or Red Box, with trail camps at Hogees, Spruce Grove or Devore. See Robinson's hikes 39 to 47 and 49 to 52.


The Commodore Switzer Trail Camp and Switzer Falls were once two of the most popular areas during the "great hiking era" of the San Gabriels. Trails that access the area follow Arroyo Seco and Bear Canyons. Trail camps are at Switzer, Bear Canyon and Oakwilde. Water generally is available. Consult Robinson's hikes 15 to 18 and 33.

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