“A challenging wooded climb, great views, and a fast descent.”
— Justin Jasper
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
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.
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.