Twenty miles north of Silver Lake sits one of Los Angeles’s best kept secrets – the majestic stretch of Angeles National Forest Highway. This historic road extends from the California 2, passing through the San Gabriel Mountains and offering breathtaking views of the city, as well as miles of mountain walls, hiking trails and secluded pine tree forest.
It shocks me how many people who live in LA and claim to ‘hike’, yet how few frequent this magical place or even know that it exists. Angeles National Forest, or ‘Angie’s Crest’, as its close companions call it, is my go-to place to escape the city, relax and spend some time alone with my thoughts. Nothing quite silences the hum in the back of your brain like the sound of the wind echoing against mountain walls. When I feel sad, or feel burdened by my daily dramas – stress from work, financial worries or feelings of discontent – I look to the mountains to calm my soul. Their silhouettes collect my secrets and I feel humbled by their echoes. I feel stillness in their shadows. I feel finite against their ancient walls.
I highly recommend a hike to Switzer Falls to introduce you to Angeles National Forest, followed by lunch at Newcomb’s Ranch – a hidden biker bar and restaurant gem about 30 minutes into the Crest. There’s a full list of hiking trails on the Forest Service website here, as well as some detailed photos and additional information on trails via Hikespeak. Get away from your busy life for a day – escape and drown yourself in the elixir of wilderness. I promise – it will be a day well spent.
“We’ve come here to remind ourselves of what life seems intent on making us forget—those truths that run through the hands like sand. We’ve come to retrace the changing shoreline of our love and rebuild what the busy days will wash away again. We’ve come here to go beyond where waves break in our hearts, to where it is calm instead of fearful.” – Sy Safransky