Eight miles to the South of the start of the West Fork trail is the start of the main San Gabriel river trail but bicycling directly there is difficult.
NOTE: This trail was closed until recently near the 7 mile point
Dam forest service camp entrance). This was due to the events of
The trail was reopened in February 2004. Devil's Canyon is also now
Kids playing in front of grafitti covered rocks near the trail head.
The crowds and grafitti are largely gone after a mile, now just the occasional fisherman, hiker or bicyclist.
A secluded waterfall and inviting pool about five miles from the trail start. (Altitude 2000 feet)
A tranquil stream near the Glen Trail Camp, about six miles from the trail start. (Altitude 2040 feet)
After leaving Glen Trail Camp, the trail becomes quite steep gaining
350 feet of elevation in a little more than a half mile. Although quite
scenic, the area becomes more desolate as few bicyclists and hikers
beyond the start of the steep incline. Near the top of the trail is a
in the middle of nowhere. (Altitude 2300 feet)
A view from the top of Cogswell Dam with the reservoir in the background.
Bicyclists crossing the dam.
Another view of the Cogswell reservoir. Devil's Canyon is near the upper right.
Just above the dam, the trail splits into two different routes and
turn into dirt fire roads. The trail to the left (main trail) continues
climbing for several miles, eventually connecting with the Rincon OHV
trail and several other trails in
the forest. The trail to the right descends a short distance to the
A third dirt trail starts from the far side of the dam and travels up
Canyon. (Altitude 2522 feet)
A scenic location along the trail. (Altitude 2640 ft)
Further up the main trail. The elevation keeps increasing (we have
about 1200 feet from the trail head at this point) and you start to
glimpses of the large observatory dome at Mount Wilson. At this point,
the dirt trail turns back into pavement and there is a strange series
paved roads that zig-zag down to the Cogswell Reservoir lake bed. These
roads were used to haul and dispose of silt from the reservoir. The
Canyon trail is visible on the far side of the lake. (Altitude 2800
Another view of the strange labyrinth of roads in the middle of nowhere. Cogswell Dam is visible in the distance.
West Fork river above Cogswell Dam. (Altitude 2900 feet)
This trail continues toward the Mount Wilson region.
Rating: * * * * *
Season: Best in spring to early summer when the stream is full and the plants colorful..
Difficulty: Easy to Glen Trail Camp, strenuous thereafter.
Hazards: No drinkable water anywhere along the trail, including the trailhead, lots of insects (in early June). Extreme isolation, once past Cogswell Dam.
More info: Field Guide, Mountain bike trails,
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Copyright 2002 by Dan Slater, All rights reserved.