Goulden Hour

Hike Gould Mesa Trail Camp in LA County

Hike to Gould Mesa Camp in LA County

LA County has a hike that’s pure Gould. That’s the name of the trail for this 2.5-mile out-and-back hike in Pasadena that descends more than 500 feet to a secluded valley with a primitive campground. Gould Mesa Road descends sharply and rewards immediately with gorgeous views of the San Gabriels and the expansive canyon stretching to the San Gabriel Valley.

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Toward the end of the paved section you’ll pass some electrical towers as the trail keeps descending on a dirt path. It’s all downhill from here, but that’s not a bad thing! Wildflowers still speckle the canyon walls, and deep red blooms of indian paintbrush brighten the chaparral. When you reach a towering oak stretching over the path and subsequent eucalyptus, the Gould Mesa Trail Camp is just around the corner.

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After passing the junction with the Gabrielino Trail, you will be greeted by a camp entrance sign and a small path maneuvering through giant yucca and pines, among other arboreal varieties. It’s a photo-friendly, peaceful spot with five walk-in sites (at this time, July 2020, it’s still closed for camping but check for updates!), picnic tables, and even a stream. Now for the finale … the climb out as you return the way you came. Uh, it’s a bit of a grind, but … up and away you go!

TIP: We recommend doing this hike at sunset for the picturesque lighting and cooler temperatures (there isn’t much shade until the campsite).

Park at the pullout dirt lot off the Angeles Crest Hwy. (map, look for the sign asking drivers to turn on their headlights) and follow the wide trail heading east past a gate. This becomes the paved Gould Mesa Rd. and the start of your hike. Dog-friendly!

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