Cathy, Brian, and myself braved the 100+ degree heat today and hiked the beautiful and very fun east fork trail. We arrived at the East Fork parking lot around 9:00 a.m. and immediately began the descent down the dirt road/very wide trail to Heaton Flats. After passing the stinky bathroom (you’ll know it!), the trail got quite a bit narrower and, for all intensive purposes, the hike began. This hike is well known in LA because of the wading in and out of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River that one most do throughout the hike. We walked through knee deep water about a mile from the parking lot, but it was short and very easy. However, a bit farther down, the trail goes steeply up some slick sandstone and granite slabs; we decided to go around this part of the hike via the river. Listen closely to this piece of advice: if you do this, the area of water away from the big rock wall is much shallower – only waste deep – but the water alongside the wall is stomach deep for most. So use your best judgment.
We continued onward, moving in and out of the river. On a 100 degree day, one doesn’t want to leave that river. Anywho, the winter of 2010-11 was not kind to this trail and parts of the trail have slid into the canyon. you will encounter one of these parts about 3 miles in, if memory serves me. However, canyon hiking is easy: just follow the canyon. There is a large arrow that someone created from to lead people back to the trail (see pics). The rest of the hike to the bridge is fun but not really super noteworthy. After 5-5.5 miles, you will come to the giant, weird bridge in the middle of nowhere. You can continue on, down to the pools below the bridge, or just take a break on the bridge like we did. We also saw two herds of bighorn sheep here: 7 sheep were on the top of the cliff opposite the direction we came in and another 5 were basically right above us on our side of the canyon. I have hiked a ton in the San Gabes but it was my first time seeing these beautiful creatures. Totally awesome.
Distance: 10-11 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: not quite sure. My guess is 1200′ or so, maybe?
Calories burned: 3650
Calories consumed: 850
Water consumed: 3L or so
Electrolyte drink consumed: none
Food consumed: 1/2 cup of sunflower seed kernels, 6 Hammer Gels servings (Vanilla), 1 package of lemon lime Clif Shot Bloks
Trekking poles: Black Diamond Contour Ellipticals (helped with water crossings)
Footwear worn: Keen Voyageurs (NOT WATERPROOF!) with smartwool PhD merino wool socks
Clothing worn: REI wicking/running shorts, a sleeveless wicking shirt
Backpack: Salomon XAPro backpack.
Other gear:I also used a couple dry bags for my phone/keys/etc. just in case they were to get wet. One more piece of gear I’d recommend for this hike is the Katadyn MyBottle Filter. Its a filter that works like a sport bottle and works great for hikes where one is in and out of water like this.
Temps: upper 90′s-105 all day
Weather: clear skies with a breeze