Fold mountains

Highlands author reviews popular San Gabriel Mountains hiking guide – Daily Bulletin

When David Harris walked the trails of nearly every known hike in the vast San Gabriel Mountains, he was literally walking in the footsteps of a legend.

The relentless effort of roughly 2017-2020 paid off when Harris updated John W. Robinson’s popular book, “Trails of the Angeles: 100 Hikes in the San Gabriel Mountains,” was published in March by Wilderness Press as 10th edition. what some call the bible of hiking for the mountains of the Los Angeles area.

John W. Robinson’s famous “Trails of the Angeles” has received a major overhaul, with new trails and directions for the trailheads in its 10th edition by co-author David Harris. It was released in March 2021. (Courtesy of Wilderness Press)

Robinson, who died in April 2018 at the age of 88, wrote the Softcover Trails Guide in 1971 which is now, thanks to Harris as a co-author, in its 50th year of publication after selling over 100,000 copies. The new edition preserves Robinson’s airy prose and historic nuggets, but adds 18 new hikes and does away with outdated trails, Harris said.

The trail book offers a variety of hikes, from easy 1 mile getaways to five day hiking trips, covering the east-west mountain range from Placerita Canyon near Santa Clarita to Cucamonga Peak in Rancho Cucamonga. Each lists specific trailhead driving instructions and step-by-step directions on how to navigate the trail, using landmarks, turning points, photos, and GPS coordinates. An iOS app, etrails, displays the trails on a digital map on an iPhone or iPad.

Harris, 47, author and co-author of seven hiking guides, including “Afoot and Afield Los Angeles County” (Fourth Edition), “Afoot and Afield Inland Empire” and “San Bernardino Mountain Trails” (Seventh Edition), preserved in the book Robinson’s original tales of pioneer hikers, naturalists, and gold diggers, including waitress Nellie Hawkins throwing hash at a canyon inn immortalized by a mountain peak named after her.

“I feel so lucky to follow in his footsteps. I feel obligated to do the job justice, ”Harris said on March 30, 2021, as he stayed in Joshua Tree to research his next track book.

Harris, a Upland resident and father of three, is an engineering professor at Harvey Mudd College, part of Claremont Colleges. He used spreadsheets to mark the characteristics of each trail, from hike length to elevation gain / loss and trail condition. Many trails in the Angeles National Forest frontcountry remain closed until April 2022 due to the Bobcat Fire in 2020. They are marked with an asterisk.

As wildfires have limited or cut off access to some hiking trails, the coronavirus pandemic has triggered tens of thousands of first-time visitors to the southern California wilderness. And some new spots became fan favorites he added to the book, Harris said.

“During COVID, there was a whole new renaissance of people going outside. So that makes this book a timely publication, ”said Harris.

Lines of cars were spotted this month at Chino Hills State Park and last week at Joshua Tree National Park on a weekday. In 2020, people took to the outdoor trails as a way to exercise with social distancing.

“We’ve had a lot of overused places and a lot of people don’t know how to take care of the earth when they hike,” said Casey Schreiner, founder and editor of, the world’s most popular hiking site. read from the west coast. , and author of “Discovering Griffith Park: A Local’s Guide. “

“But the more people are exposed to nature is generally a positive thing,” he added.

Aside from the pillars, such as the hikes to Liebre Mountain, Mount Baldy, and Mount Wilson, Harris included 18 new hikes, many dotted along the gentler slopes of the buttress reserves, focusing on the flank. is. These include:

David Harris at the foot of Eaton Canyon Falls. The hike has been added to the book. (Photo by Kiby McDaniel)

• Eaton Canyon Falls (Hike 21), located in the Eaton Canyon Natural Area managed by Los Angeles County in Pasadena. “It wasn’t a big deal in 1971, but these days it’s one of the most popular trails in the lineup,” Harris said. Harris quotes naturalist John Muir, who said that these falls produce “a soft, low voice, singing like a bird.” Face covers are mandatory. Reservations are required at least 24 hours in advance. Email: [email protected]

• Jackson Lake Loop (Hike 84), Off Highway 138 then Angeles Crest Highway, west of Wrightwood. “In the spring, the chickadees sing and the lupine, the brush and the wallflower give color to the woods,” he writes.

• Claremont Hills Wilderness Park (Hike 87), the most visited wilderness park in the chain. He included it because it is family friendly and easy to access. “It’s wonderful to have trails near you where you can enjoy a beautiful place without taking all day to do it,” said Harris.

• Etiwanda Falls (Hike 88), in the North Etiwanda Reserve in Rancho Cucamonga. Aside from the waterfall, “it’s a great place to view lizards, birds, and wildflowers,” Harris wrote.

• Canyon Marshall at La Verne (Hike 86): “I love this area. I really like the oaks in there, where you walk through shady tunnels, ”he said. He has seen bobcats twice on this trail, he said.

The book includes a fold-out map of all of the San Gabriel Mountains, with the hike numbers in red. Do hikers still use paper maps?

“I never hike without a paper map,” said Schreiner, who also often carries the Robinson book. “I tell people your phone is great, but if you have a paper card it will never run out of batteries or lose connection.”

Harris agreed. “Fold-out maps are a good way to see the trails at a glance,” he said.

Of course, trail guides also help you find your way to the trailhead, helping you make that special connection to nature so close but sometimes so far for 22 million Southern Californians.

“Part of the beauty of being out there is the connection to the land,” said Harris. “It makes you feel more at home where you live when you look up and see these places. “