The mountains immediately north of Los Angeles, Pasadena, Pomona, and much of the rest of the LA area. They are trully beautiful mountains, with peaks over 10,000 feet, and many great hiking and wilderness areas. That said, on too many days of the year, you can't even see that they are there due to the smog.

The San Gabriels are the imposing mountains that provide the backdrop to the Los Angeles Area. They are a result of the earth's movements via the San Andreas, San Gabriel, Soledad, and Sierra Madre faults and extend from the Cajon Pass in the east to the Ridge Route or Grapevine Canyon area in the west.

Throught the years, the San Gabriels have been known through a variety of names, including Sierra Madre ("Mother Range"), and in earlier times as Sierra de San Gabriel. The USGS decided in 1927, however, to use San Gabriel as the range's offical name.

For the Los Angelinos who wants to get away from the concrete jungle of the city, the San Gabriels offer a delightful and convienent getaway. The mountains are full of old mines (WARNING: Many mines in the East Fork of the San Gabriel are privately owned! YOU CAN BE SHOT!), waterfalls, and bubbling creeks (This is especially true in the spring).

Notable Peaks

Strawberry Peak

Strawberry Peak is one of the highest points in the San Gabriel Mountains rising 6,164 feet and was known for a March 1909 accident when a gas balloon with 6 Pasadena residents on board managed to loft onto Strawberry Peak's crest in the middle of a bad snowstorm. The party was stranded for 72 hours before finally making it to Switzer's Camp, 8 miles away.

However, the most interesting aspect of peak is how it got its name. In the early part of the 20th Century several vacationers at Switzer's Camp made a bet on what the lump that is Strawberry Peak looked like. Someone commented that it looked like a strawberry and won.

The peak remains a favorite among hikers and there's a namesake (Strawberry Meadow) nearby. For those who are lazy, you can drive on Angeles Forest Highway and catch a glimpse of it. It really does look like a strawberry.

Mount Disappointment

No, it's not going to cause dismay and depression if you see or hike the mountain. Mount Disappointment was given this name by the Wheeler Survey (Dr. F. Kampf, W.A. Coles and Frank Holland) who were mapping out the San Gabriel Mountains in the 1890s. The group had taken all their equipment up to the mountain to use it as a trangulation point because it appeared to be higher at first glance than its neighbor, San Gabriel Peak only to find that it was 150 shorter. Thus the "disappointment."

In 1955 the United States Army decided that Mount Disappointment would make a good missile site and flattened the summit (See: Nike Missile Sites of Los Angeles) before abandoning it in 1965 with the buildings left to degrade from humans and nature. Despite the abandonment, it appares that the summit is still used as it has loads of antennae and transmitters.

Mount Disappointment was also the first recorded climb by a woman in the San Gabriels when J.D. Hooker did so in 1886. That same year, "Commodore" Perry Switzer made a trail to the summit.


Robinson, John. Trails of the Angeles

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