All of these hikes take different routes to get to Grizzly Flat. Cumulative mileages along the hike and elevation of the current point are given in parentheses. The mileages have been taken from Topo!, and hence may be a bit short for the trail portions, which has been allowed for in the total estimated mileage for each hike. The altitudes were read off the topo map by myself.
- Hike 13, Big Tujunga to Grizzly Flat and Vasquez Creek. This was Robinson's hike 13 in his 1976 to 1990 editions, and hence is the number used here. This hike is 5 miles roundtrip, 900' elevation gain from Stonyvale Picnic Area on the Big Tujunga Creek to Grizzly Flat and on to Vasquez Creek. The trailhead is reached by taking Foothill Boulevard in Sunland to Mount Gleason Avenue, which becomes Big Tujunga Canyon Road. In 7 1/4 miles you reach the road down to Vogel Flat. Turn right on that road to Stonyvale Road, turn left on Stonyvale ~1/4 mile to a large flat area and park there (0.0 miles, ~1840').
Begin hiking by continuing on the dirt road, ford the stream if the water is not too high, and work your way upstream, fording the stream two more times. About one mile from the start, at the point where the Big Tujunga Creek changes its course from southwest (upstream) to northwest (downstream) look for the trail heading uphill to Grizzly Flat (trailhead is at 1.1 mile, ~2140'). Grizzly Flat (2.0 mile, ~2720') is reached in another mile. Cross Grizzly Flat heading northeast to Vasquez Creek, reached in 1/4 mile. Robinson's trip assumes you explore Vasquez Creek a bit sans trail before returning the same way.
The condition of this trail may be poor. Brian Trudell reports on 5/15/00 that the section of trail from Grizzly Flat to the Big Tujunga Creek was too dense with poison oak for him to try it, and Roy Randall found on 8/16/98 that there was thick chaparral "threatening to engulf the trail" on his hike along that section.
- Hike 16-4, Angeles Crest Highway to Grizzly Flat via Grizzly Flat Fire Road. Sometime in later printings of the 1990 edition, Robinson changed his trip 13 to be from the Angeles Crest Highway, after listing it as an alternative trailhead, probably for several reasons:
- the potential problems of crossing Big Tujunga Creek in high water;
- the difficulty of finding the trail to Grizzly Flat; and
- the condition of the trail from Big Tujunga Creek to Grizzly Flat.
The trailhead is at mile marker 30.50 on the Crest Highway. This trip is 5.7 miles roundtrip, 1250' elevation gain to Grizzly Flat, plus another 0.5 - 1 mile to explore Vasquez Creek.. Take Fire Road 2N80 (the gated road leaving from the trailhead) about 0.7 mile to its intersection with the Grizzly Flat Road at a water tank. Take the left branch (not the gated right branch to Hoyt Mountain) to a ~3420' saddle ~1 mile from the trailhead. Continue along the mountain side, just below the ridge, to a second saddle at (1.4 miles, ~3300'), and then on to the saddle at the head of the northern Dark Canyon (1.7 miles, ~3310'). This section has grand views of the Big Tujunga drainage and the best flowers in season. Descend the unmarked fire road to Grizzly Flat (2.8 miles, 2720'), head northeast to Vasquez Creek, and return the same way.
- Hike 16-5, Angeles Crest Highway to Grizzly Flat and Vasquez Creek via Upper Dark Canyon Trail. This is Robinson's hike 13 in the 1998 edition, as well as possibly in the last printings of the 1990 edition. This hike takes the "recently cleared" upper Dark Canyon Trail. This trip is 4 - 4.5 miles roundtrip with 1100' elevation gain. (Note Robinson incorrectly gives this as 5 miles roundtrip, 500' elevation gain.)
The trailhead is at mile marker 30.02 on the Crest Highway (~2820'). (Brian Trudell pointed out that Robinson has a typo and calls this mile marker 30.2.) The upper Dark Canyon Trail proceeds steeply uphill on a ridge, using only two switchbacks near the bottom to get to the ridge. In ~0.3 mile, you reach a loop road around a tree plantation. Either direction on the road will reach the same point on the saddle at the head of the northern Dark Canyon, with the right branch shorter by ~0.1 mile (0.6 mile using the right branch, ~3310'). Descend the unmarked fire road to Grizzly Flat (1.7 miles, 2720'), and head northeast to explore Vasquez Creek. Return the same way.
When available, the date of the described hike is given in parentheses for each link.
Angeles Crest Highway to Grizzly Flat and Vasquez Creek to Stoneyvale Picnic Area Via Upper Dark Canyon Trail (16Aug98), Roy M. Randall (7 miles round trip, 991' elevation gain)
Copyright © 2000 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 29 May 2000.