Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,529.00 ft (770.84 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
14.06 mi (22.63 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 Gould Mesa Loop is a moderately difficult, lightly-trafficked loop of 14.06 miles in Angeles National Forest near La Canada Flintridge. Besides a quiet escape from the city, the trail features wildlife, seasonally flowing water, and wonderfully scenic vistas at higher elevations.  

Directly after the city of La Canada Flintridge and before going too far into the mountains, park in the large turnout off of Highway 2. Be very well prepared for this exposed adventure, especially with water on hot days. From the parking area, this route descends 1 mile along a paved Gould Mesa Road, past transmission towers and power lines. The Gould Mesa Campground is at the bottom, complete with a vault toilet, 5 campsites, and trash bins. Turn left at the junction here, as you join the Gabrielino Trail toward the Paul Little Picnic Area. A single-track trail runs alongside Arroyo Seco, a stream bed that runs high in winter, and low to dry in summer. The trail crosses Arroyo Seco a number of times, and when water levels are high, you’ll likely wet your shoes, shins or even knees depending on the year. Keep your eye out for poison oak along this riparian stretch, as it is abundant and does not respect trail boundaries.

After Paul Little Picnic Area, a short, steep and switch-backed climb teases what lies ahead, before descending again into a wider wash of Arroyo Seco. Near mile 3.7, turn right onto the Ken Burton Trail, which marks the beginning of a 2.3-mile climb of 1,115 feet. Along this climb, scenery shifts to the expansive. To the east sit the gray granite faces of the San Gabriel Mountains, and to the west, downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. At the saddle marking the top of the climb, the trail becomes Brown Mountain Road and begins a nearly 3-mile descent. Close to mile 9, turn right at the scenic saddle onto Fern Truck Trail, and continue descending for another 2.8 miles. The trail can be noticeably more crowded from here onward, especially with mountain bikers. At mile 11.7 turn right at the junction with Gabrielino Trail/Arroyo Seco, where you might once again find flowing water and a nice place to rest. Mile 13 marks Gould Mesa Campground, where a left turn will take you back up the mile-long climb to the Highway 2 parking area and the end of the journey.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Beautiful scenery. Flowing creek. Varying landscapes.

Cons

Exposed. Occasional mountain bike traffic.

Trailhead Elevation

1,941.00 ft (591.62 m)

Highest point

2,918.00 ft (889.41 m)

Features

Wildlife
Vault toilet
Bird watching
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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

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