Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
2,858.00 ft (871.12 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
15.40 mi (24.78 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 Colby Canyon Loop is a 15.4-mile route in the San Gabriel Mountains near Los Angeles, California. This route is a favorite for local trail runners and hikers, as it showcases some of the very best of what these mountains have to offer. From big vistas of the San Gabriel Wilderness and badland landscapes in the distance, to traveling through oak-lined corridors and green, rolling hills, the Colby Canyon Loop is known for its varied terrain and approachable elevation. As always, make sure that you carry enough water, though there are a number of seasonal creeks as well as a water spigot at Red Box Saddle This area can get extremely hot and much of this route is exposed. Also, be wary of poison oak, especially along the Gabrielino Trail section. 

Park at the junction of the Angeles Crest Highway and Angeles Forest Highway (no permit needed). Take Natures Canteen Trail, just off Highway 2, down to Switzer’s Picnic Area. Travel across the stream (Arroyo Seco) and continue past the picnic area to join the Gabrielino Trail. The Gabrielino Trail passes through a fantastic array of plant life here, and climbs steadily toward Red Box Saddle at mile 5. At Red Box, one can fill up water and check out the Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center, use the bathroom, and take breather on a picnic bench. Continue very briefly along Highway 2 until taking the Strawberry Peak Trail to the left. This will carry you soon to the high point of the route (5,287 ft) at Lawlor Saddle, mile 7.4. From Lawlor Saddle, one has the option of climbing Strawberry Peak and/or Mount Lawlor. Our route descends for 2 miles from here around to the backside of Strawberry Peak, and again begins a short climb to Josephine Saddle, mile 12.5. The 2-mile descent down Colby Canyon here is relatively steep, but manageable and with excellent views. Once at the Colby Canyon Trailhead, it is a brief jaunt along Highway 2 back to your starting point.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Wildlife. Scenic views. Wilderness quiet. Beautiful terrain.

Cons

Follows highway for short sections. Exposed. Poison oak.

Trailhead Elevation

3,655.00 ft (1,114.04 m)

Highest point

5,287.00 ft (1,611.48 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Wildlife
Big vistas
Potable water
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Historically significant

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Los Angeles Metro Area, California
Angeles National Forest, San Gabriel Mountains
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California

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