Lakes are few and far between in the San Gabriel Mountains, especially natural ones like Jackson Lake, which makes this spot in the Angeles National Forest all the more special. Sitting at 6,100 feet, this mountain lake may be tiny, but it’s lovely and tranquil—a great spot for a quiet getaway and maybe a little bit of fishing.
Jackson Lake supports a bluegill population year-round and is stocked with rainbow trout during the spring and summer months. You can fish from either shore, or paddle out to the center of the lake in a kayak.
A trail runs along the south shore—it’s less than a half mile from one end to the other. The trail leads to a lakeside picnic area with tables and barbecue grills, which are shaded by the surrounding Jeffrey pines. You’ll have avian company as you picnic—look for American robins and Steller’s jays perched in the branches. From the picnic area, you have access to multiple trails through the woods that eventually link up to the Pacific Crest Trail, leading to Mount Baden-Powell and beyond. So, whether you’re looking for relaxation, casual fishing, or some improvised hiking, Jackson Lake has you covered.
From I-15 in the Cajon Pass, take the exit for CA-138 west and turn left. Make another left on CA-2 (Angeles Crest Hwy.) and pass through Wrightwood. Turn right onto Big Pines Hwy. for 3 miles, then make a left into the Jackson Lake picnic area. A USFS Adventure Pass is required for parking in the paved lot, and a California fishing license is required for fishing. Dog-friendly!