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El Prieto to Brown Mountain Loop

Intermediate
 3.9 (15) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A challenging wooded climb, great views, and a fast descent.


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Map Key

8.2

Miles

13.2

KM

Loop

2,385' 727 m

High

1,152' 351 m

Low

1,254' 382 m

Up

1,254' 382 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

The best moderate loop in the Pasadena/Altadena front range of the San Gabriels. Although the El Prieto climb is a bit challenging, it's wooded, crosses multiple streams, and is pretty. The descent on Brown Mountain Road and Fern Truck Trail isn't too steep, has nice views, and can be done pretty fast.

Need to Know

Rocky, rooty, and a challenging uphill.

Description

From the parking lot near the JPL entrance, follow the paved trail that turns to a dirt road for about 1.25 miles. Take the right fork towards El Prieto/Brown Mountain for about 0.25 miles, then stay right onto El Prieto.

Follow this steep trail for about 2 miles until you reach Brown Mountain Fire Road. Turn left here and climb up to the saddle between Brown Mountain Fire Road and Fern Truck Trail. Descend down Fern Truck Trail (also called Brown Mountain; the left-most trail when you reach the saddle) back to the junction where you took El Prieto, and head back the way to came to the parking lot.

You can also do the loop in reverse, but hiking down El Prieto is a little less desirable. You can also add an out-and-back from the Brown Mountain Saddle towards Ken Burton Trail if you are looking for a longer hike. El Prieto has a few off-shoots, but they'll all reach Brown Mountain eventually.

Flora & Fauna

Might see some coyotes, deer, and rabbits.

Shared By:

Justin Jasper

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 15 votes

#2

in Pasadena

#2350

Overall
  3.9 from 15 votes
5 Star
27%
4 Star
53%
3 Star
13%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
7%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

in Pasadena

#320

in California

#2,350

Overall
123 Views Last Month
6,873 Since Nov 4, 2015
Intermediate

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85%
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15%
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Photos

View at at the Junction of Fern Truck and Brown Mountain Trail. There are two benches to appreciate the view.
Mar 30, 2020 near La Caña…, CA
Top of El Prieto Trail before you start hiking the saddle
Mar 30, 2020 near La Caña…, CA
The view south towards Altadena from the Brown Mountain Saddle.
Mar 13, 2019 near La Caña…, CA
Brown Mountain Saddle looking north
Mar 13, 2019 near La Caña…, CA
Looking down El Prieto Canyon from Brown Mountain Trail.
Dec 18, 2015 near La Caña…, CA
Looking up towards Brown Mountain saddle, where Fern Truck Trail and Brown Mountain Trail split.
Dec 18, 2015 near La Caña…, CA

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Check-Ins

Nov 3, 2020
Anthony Pirro
May 15, 2020
Matt A
with Clara
Mar 29, 2020
Diana N
Lovely hike. there will be other people, but it's by no means crowded 8.2mi — 2h 50m
Dec 28, 2019
Katherine Varela
Aug 24, 2019
lee o'reilly
Nov 27, 2018
Kevin P
Nov 10, 2018
Alex Roy
8.2mi
Nov 10, 2018
May Wang
Half shaded, half exposed. The trail is popular with mountain bikers and is often singletrack. 8.2mi