GOOD NEWS FOR HENNINGER FANS! - Making inroads
Pasadena Star-News Article: 05/13/2008
IT'S been a good couple of weeks for trail access in the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains.
First, a judge ruled definitively against the long-running, enormously misguided attempt by a small cabal in Altadena's La Vina Homeowners Association to prevent hikers from strolling where they have been since the 19th century.
That victory in Millard Canyon was celebrated with glee by many people of goodwill throughout the region, not a few of whom live in La Vina itself and who are going to be stuck with paying attorneys' fees because a small minority of their neighbors went off the deep end.
Also this month a Monrovia trail to which the public has long had access - if not from the 19th century, at least from 1971 - was ruled entirely public again by a Pasadena Superior Court judge.
It was another case of a homeowner misunderstanding what the public right of way means. The Sawpit Wash Trail runs alongside a county flood-control channel for about two miles, and is popular with hikers and runners. When one homeowner over 50 years ago refused to sell land for the channel, the county obtained a binding easement for the trail. The city of Monrovia had to sue to make a new homeowner at the property understand what an easement means; again, the city and the hikers won.
Good stuff. But what about the sad situation in which one of the most famous trails in Southern California has been blocked not by some ornery property owner but by a
landslide, and the powers that be can't seem to clear a way through?
That's what readers keep asking us about the massive slide that covers the historic Mt. Wilson Toll Road just past the bridge over the Eaton Canyon stream below Pinecrest Road in Altadena.
The slide occurred during the El Nino-driven rains of the winter of 2004-`05, when 38 inches of rain fell on the city, and many inches more came down in the mountains.
A quick glance shows that clearing the road - widened 101 years ago to accommodate the 100-inch Mt. Wilson telescope and closed to motor vehicles other than government ones since 1936 - is not going to be an easy task.
There are thousands of tons of dirt and rocks to be moved.
But it's been years now, during which the steep but lovely hike to Henninger Flats and on to Mt. Wilson has been not available to thousands of hikers and bicyclists used to its rugged charms.
So we called the man in charge of solving the problem, Frank Vidilas, acting chief of the Forestry Division of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and asked him what gives.
The good news is that Vidilas sees an end in sight. The bad is that it likely won't be cleared until April 2009. That's because the complications, says Vidilas, are both natural and bureaucratic.
In the first place, there are six more landslides than the one visible from town farther up the road. In the second, a lot of agencies - including the city of Pasadena, which owns the land the first slide covers; the California Department of Fish & Game; the United States Forest Service - all have fingers in the pie. It's been decided that the county needs to take the lead in solving the problem, because its vehicles use the road most, to bring supplies to the firefighters in permanent residence in cabins at Henninger. (Now the supplies come in from the clear road down from Mt. Wilson, but that's a long way around.)
Vidilas is working to get yet another bureaucracy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to foot the estimated $1.4 million bill for a contractor to clear the landslides. He hopes to see work begin by this fall.
So do we. It's been too long a wait to see the important trail cleared
a 44 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a 2008 FOES FXR from Sierra Madre, CA
Posted on 05/16/08
Mount Wilson- Henniger Flats - About a year after the landslide, I spoke to a friend who is a Altadena fireman about the trail and asked if/when it was going to be repaired. The reply (at that time was) the city was not going to repair the trail because it would cost a few million and the city didn't want to spend that type of money, but within the last few months, neighbors in that area say that they've seen bulldozer. So, who knows? Write to the city of Pasadena or Altadena
ak1ra1i a 48 year old Weekend Warrior riding a trek from pasadena
Posted on 05/12/08
GOod question. This has been a pet peeve of mine for several years now.
a 42 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a FOES LTS from PASADENA< CA
Posted on 05/11/08
When are they planning on clearing the slides?
a 44 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a GT Zaskar from Sierra Madre
Posted on 04/29/08
It's Doable - I hiked up to the Toll Road last September and with the excetion of a few small slides (after the big one) you can make it to Henniger. The gate from Crescent drive is locked so you have to go in through the park. Make sure you ride very slowly and give the hikers a lot of room since you're not supposed to ride in that area.
I was told by the ranger at Eaton Canyon vistors center that FEMA gave the USFS $1 million to repair teh Toll Road. Not sure when we will start seeing work on it but I will post something if I see anything being done.
Posted on 05/03/07
Mt. Wilson Toll Road - Is this trail still rideable from Eaton Canyon to Mt. Wislon? Has anyone tried it lately? Thanks!
nomadca a 46 year old Weekend Warrior riding a Foes FXR 2:1 from Pasaden E-mail:this user
Posted on 04/30/07
I rode the part from the bridge to Henninger flats yesterday (May 8, 2006). There is only one REALLY big land slide in the beginning of the trail. Although there is a narrow route which goes through it. Once you passed it, the road is totally rideable all the way to Henninger flats (there is another small land slide right before the flats, but if you make through the big one, it's not even worth mentioning.)
It looks like the road is being used by quite a few hikers. It's amazing to see how everything looks overgrown and abandoned, when it wasn't heavily used for around 2 years.
Since the gate is still closed, you have to go through the Eaton canyon park, please try not to annoy a lot of hikers and dog walkers, since technically biking is not allowed there. Noone is bitching about riding a bike there. You can technically walk it all the way to the start if you'd like to be nice.
Mikhail a 26 year old Cross-Country Rider
Posted on 05/09/06
landslides (still) - There's still a giant landslide just past the bridge at the end of Eaton Canyon, looks like it completely obliterated the toll road / trail entrance there. The Chantry Flats road was closed too. Too bad, I was looking forward to a good hike up to Wilson. Anyone know what's the best way to get up there besides the paved road from Hwy 2?
paulie505 a 38 year old Weekend Warrior URL: http://www.paulketrick.com/wilson_slide.html
Posted on 10/27/05
Toll Road Update - Does anyone have an update on when (or if) they are going to fix the trail and bridge? I went to the ANF site as well as the LA County site to look for it per Miznax's url, but could not find anything.
Thanks is advance.
MC a 43 year old riding a Fisher Montare from Altadena
Posted on 10/18/05
Toll Road Singletrack - Hiked up there yesterday via Rattlesnake. Not too legal I guess, but many are hiking the trail. What used to be fireroad is now in places single track. There were some signs of bikes in places as well. Still don't know of a preposed clearing and opening of the trail.
Would be nice though!
MC a 43 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a Fisher Montare from Altadena
Posted on 06/15/05
This link has road conditions in the Angeles National Forest, not trail conditions. Try calling, they're always very pleasant and helpful.
Posted on 04/05/05
Any word on repairing? - I wish I checked the trail posts before I left to ride this trail. What a mess! Does anyone have any info as to when this road will be cleared. I imagine that they have to wait some time for the ground to dry up and settle. If you have any info please post. If you have a link to a site from the USFS please share. I tried doing a seach but came up empty.
Mrkcy a 27 year old
Posted on 04/04/05
It's CLOSED and here's proof... - For the guy 2 below, this is no place to promote your thriving real estate business. Please establish some boundaries with your work.
Posted on 03/23/05
slide - Just had a feeling to drive past the trailhead. There is a huge slide you can see from the Gate at Pinecrest. It wiped out about 50+ yards of the road 25+ yards up from the trailhead. Looks like that alone will take a long time to repair.
Posted on 03/23/05
Mt. Wilson Road - From 210 FRWY exit ALLEN Ave. and head north towards the mountains. keep going untill you cross with ALTADENA Dr. (You can't miss it) keep going straight as ALLEN Ave becomes PINECREST Dr., PINECREST Dr. curves around and just when you face SOUTH "away from the moutains" the trail head is on your left handside. URL: Visit my web site to contact me if you have trails in the area for me to try
Posted on 03/23/05
Closed again.... - ...landslides.
Posted on 02/01/05
Closed again... - ...landslides.
Posted on 02/01/05
Mt. Wilson Toll Road - Post Rain - Rode up the Mt. Wilson Toll Road yesterday morning (10/24) to Winter
Creek trailhead. Trip up to Henniger is pretty tacky, some rutting but
mostly unchanged and in good shape. From Henniger up to the first
ridge line there are one or two hike-a-bike sections as the trail has
some rocky sections and washouts - however, it's still fun and a little
more challenging than usual. From the ridge line to Winter Creek,
however, is a different story. The first few miles are nice but then it's
like riding up a dry creekbed. Many hike-a-bike sections and severe
landslides leaving the trail totally unrideable (even a careful hike
across) in some sections. As it stands, probably not worth it to ride
past the second ridge line (this is where you come out of the shade and
have a view of Altadena below before heading East bound toward
Overall fun ride and perfect given my time constraints (read family
plans) on Sunday morning. If coming down toll road, be very careful of
washouts and rutting above Henniger but have some fun!
Ride rating: Advanced
Ride distance: 16 miles Elevation change: 4000
Mountain Goat a 35 year old Cross-Country Rider riding a Curtlo custom frame & Marin Mount Vision from Pasadena E-mail:this user
Posted on 10/25/04
Hey - I got an idea. Why dont you go for a ride and let us know what happens? Go all the way to Chantry, I'm curious as to how overgrown the trails are. Keep us posted.
Henry a 36 year old Die-hard Enthusiast riding a VT1 from Temple City
Posted on 10/06/04
Angeles Forest Trails - Hey, the Angeles Forestry Service is putting all their fire patrols in the canyons with cabins on weekends, so how will they know if we're riding on the trails?
Posted on 10/06/04
Trail Closed to Public - I planned on doing this ride last week and showed up to the trailhead only to see that the gate was locked and there was a big sign that read "Forest Closed to Public." Duh, the news did report that the Angeles National Forest is closed to the public. I thought about being a renegade and riding up to the toll rode from the park, but that would be wrong. So I drove over to El Prieto and there was the same sign. Very :(
Posted on 10/04/04