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Angeles National Forest: Hiking Trails

Kenyon Devore Trail to Mount Wilson

It has been reported that there are several downed trees crossing the trail, and that the trail has suffered erosion damage caused by trail users using the slopes to navigate around these obstructions. Use extreme caution while using this trail, especially near the first stream crossing, as the slopes are steep and very loose.

This trail was once known as "Rattlesnake" Trail, but was renamed several years ago in honor of Kenyon Devore, who grew up at his parents resort in the West Fork of San Gabriel. Kenyon worked over thirty years in the forest as a dam keeper for the Department of Public Works, and after his retirement worked for the Angeles National Forest as an information specialist at Chantry Flat. Kenyon was an inspiration to many, and was dedicated to assisting the Angeles National Forest in its mission of "Caring for the land and serving people". He is missed a great deal.

This is a beautiful, mostly forested trail with oaks, Manzanita and chaparral along its lower portion, and Alder, California Laurel and Big Leaf Maple trees where the trail follows and crosses Strains Canyon. There is cool water in this little stream except during the driest months. Higher, the trail switches back and forth through one of the finest stands of Big Cone Spruce (also known as Big Cone Douglas Fir) on the Forest. Near the top, some Ponderosa, Jeffrey and Sugar Pines may be seen with oaks predominating along the final stretch. From this upper portion, just below the summit (5710 elev.), is a fine view of the Mt. Wilson Observatory and the higher peaks of the San Gabriel range, including the highest, Mt. San Antonio (Mt. Baldy), at 10,064 ft. elevation. Along the last upper stretch of the trail is the site of an important scientific milestone. During the 1920s, Professor Michaelson made the first precise measurement of the speed of light. This was done by an instrument installed beside this trail and a mirror device set on Mt. Baldy some 20 air miles to the east. The foundation for this instrument was visible beside the trail for many years, but is now either hidden by growth of chaparral or has been removed.

After visiting the mountain top and enjoying the views of the Los Angeles basin and several islands out in the ocean (atmospheric conditions permitting), as well as fine views of the mountains, return by the same route. A round-trip may be made by hiking 3 miles west toward Red Box along the Mt. Wilson Road to Eaton Canyon Saddle and taking the Valley Forge trail back down into the West Fork to the Gabrielino Trail, then east to your starting point. It is 4 1/2 miles to Mt. Wilson from West Fork Campground. Approximately 9 miles to Mt. Wilson from Red Box Divide - Hwy. 2.

Mt. Wilson was named for Benjamin Wilson, mid-nineteenth century settler of Southern California.

Directions

To get to the trailhead, drive up Angeles Crest Highway to Red Box Divide. Take the Gabrielino Trail approximately five miles to the trail sign. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for vehicles parked at the Trailhead.

Distance: 9 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 2,600 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Topo map: Mt Wilson

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