A late afternoon hike leads to a unexpected new view of the valley.
I hadn’t explored much of the western-facing foothills of the Angeles National Forest and was looking for something new. Then I read about Haines Canyon from Casey over at modernhiker.com. The strenuous hike up to the top of Mount Lukens didn’t interest me as much as the small section of the route called Sister Elsie Trail. Unlike the wide fire road that is Haines Canyon “trail,” Sister Elsie is a single-track rugged trail through coastal oaks, healthy sycamores, and a little stream.
I had a nice time hiking both Haines Canyon and Sister Elsie trails. I wish I had started earlier though: I was racing against the sun and didn’t care to do a night hike today, especially up a canyon I had not been before. Regretfully*, I turned around just a mile or so up Sister Elsie Trail, hiking back down, towards the sunset. Before exiting the canyon, I unexpectedly took a detour up to the top of a small hill north of the catch basin and caught the last of the sunlight setting over Tujunga, the Verdugo Mountains, and the expansive San Fernando Valley. I stayed into dusk and watched the city lights twinkle below and a few stars appear above. Despite my late start and disappointment on not making it all the way up Sister Elsie Trail, it was a nice afternoon of hiking.
Thoughts about the hike:
- I finally found a pair of boots that work for me: Columbia
- *The Station Fire, one of the worst wildfires in California’s recorded history, has caused significant damage in Haines Canyon. Just three weeks after my hike (August 31, 2009), fires roared through the canyon, destroying most of the wildlife captured in the photos below. The area is closed to visitors until at least the Spring of 2011. Hopefully, with a little time, patience, and luck, we’ll be able to hike in Haines Canyon again.
- Parking on the street is illegal above 10439 Haines Canyon Avenue
- Google Maps – Haines Canyon Avenue
- Modern Hiker – Hiking Mount Lukens via Haines Canyon
- Revisiting Haines Canyon after the Station Fire (Jan 2010)
Hike #41 Trip GPS Stats:
- Date of hike: August 9th, 2009
- Location: Tujunga, California
- Length: 3.9 miles
- Duration: 2 hours, 24 minutes
- Average speed: ±1.6 mph
- Altitude at start: 1,119 feet
- Altitude min.max: 1,122/1,092 feet
This map was made with the data my GPS captured on the hike. For a more detailed trip report map, check this out.