Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
10,726.00 ft (3,269.28 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
40.00 mi (64.37 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The High Desert National Recreation Trail (HDNRT) Loop is a 40-mile backcountry route that links together several trails to form a scenic loop through the San Gabriel Mountains. The route begins at the Vincent Gap Trailhead, off of Angeles Crest Highway / CA-2, east of Wrightwood and about 1.5 hours from Los Angeles.

The route largely traverses the Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness with its chaparral-covered hillsides, pine forests, rugged canyons, and scenic vistas. There are aromatic pine trees, beautiful ridgeline trails, majestic mountains, and expansive views looking out across the Mojave desert. Expect a scenic and strenuous trek with an elevation range of around 4,500 feet to just over 9,000 feet and an overall elevation gain reaching just over 10,700 feet!

The route passes through areas that are popular for trail running, hiking, and backpacking, as well as sections that are much more remote, offering plenty of opportunities for solitude. 

TRAILS USED

Manzanita Trail / High Desert National Recreation Trail (HDNRT) → Burkhart Trail → Pacific Crest Trail (PCT)

WILDLIFE
Rattlesnakes, woodpeckers, Cooper’s Hawk, mountain chickadees, mule deer, mountain lions, black bears, lizards, hummingbirds, etc.

VEGETATION
Pine trees such as pinyon, Jeffrey, sugar, and california incense-cedar. There are also ferns, lupine, mountain mahogany, chaparral, juniper, yucca, cacti, and more. 

WATER

Water is available year-round at Little Jimmy Spring, located about two miles from Islip Saddle (all water must be treated prior to use). 

CONSIDERATIONS

There are sometimes closures in the Angeles National Forest due to forest fires or other natural events. Before you head out, check for any seasonal or temporary closures in the area. 

ADVENTURE PASS

Parking may require that you obtain a national forest Adventure Pass.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

Angeles National Forest Alerts and Notices

Pleasant View Ridge Wilderness

San Gabriel Wilderness

Logistics + Planning

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Adventure Pass required

Open Year-round

Yes

Days

3

Pros

Solitude. Wilderness. National scenic trails.

Cons

Some areas may have crowds. Especially near the trailhead.

Trailhead Elevation

4,572.00 ft (1,393.55 m)

Highest point

9,160.00 ft (2,791.97 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Big vistas
Bird watching
Wildflowers

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains
Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains
Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains
Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains

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