- Southwestern California just outside of LA over the San Gabriel Mountains
- 55 miles (88 km)
- 3 hours
- Spring, summer, and fall, avoid traffic on the weekends
- Possible National Park entrance fees
The Angeles Crest Scenic Byway is often considered the most scenic drive in southern California. Rising from 1,500 to 7,900 feet, the scenery changes as quickly as the altitude, from urban Los Angeles to the scenic San Gabriel Mountains.
The Angeles Crest Scenic Byway runs 55 miles across California on Route 2, from La Canada, north of Los Angeles, to the San Bernadino County line, just west of the resort town of Wrightwood.
Views are the commodity of the drive as sights of Los Angeles and of the mountain scenery so shortly out of the city are surprising and gratifying. Mt. Wilson and the Mt. Wilson Observatory are accessible from the byway, offering fantastic views of the Los Angeles Basin. The byway also provides access to many trails and camping areas in the forest. The Chilao and the Grassy Hollow visitor's centers are great places to stop, enjoy, and regroup.
Points of Interest Along The Way
Angeles National Forest (CA)
The Angeles National Forest was established by Executive Order in December, 1892. It covers over 650,000 acres and is the backyard playground to the huge metropolitan area of Los Angeles.
In Los Angeles and San Bernadino Counties
Chilao Visitor's Center (CA)
The Chilao Visitor Center is located on State Highway 2, about27 miles north of the city of La Canada, CA (off Interstate 210).At an elevation of 5,280 feet, it is nestled in a beautiful portion of the Angeles National Forest, and admission is free.
The center offers an introduction to the forest through a variety of exhibits, trails and activities. Nature trails lead from the building, and over 20 indoor exhibits introduce visitors to themes of national forest management, history of the San Gabriel Mountains, forest wildlife, and recreational opportunities. In addition, this center is listed in the Watchable Wildlife Guide as an international bird watching site.
The visitor center may be closed at various times throughout the year. For more information about the Center, conditions, and activities, call (626) 796-5541.
The Chilao Visitor Center is located on the byway, about 27 miles north of La Canada (off Interstate 210).
Grassy Hollow Visitor Center (CA)
Grassy Hollow Visitor Center is located on Highway 2, 6 miles west of the town of Wrightwood, CA. Exhibits tell the story of this rugged, wind-swept area. Follow the animal tracks from the interpretive panels, under the trees (yes! indoors!) to the forest mural where you'll discover facts about the animals who live here.You'll find a wide variety of books, Smokey dolls and other great items in the gift shop. Grassy Hollow Visitor Center is open 10:00a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday (as of July 2002).Subject to closure in periods of high snowfall.
On Highway 2, just six miles west of the town of Wrightwood.
La Canada (CA)
The Perfect Starting PointLa Cañada Flintridge represents the best of California living. If the lure of the nearby San Gabriel Mountains isn't enough, then the small-town atmosphere and tree-lined streets will capture the hearts of the traveler. Additionally, the city is host to numerous businesses. Restaurants, service stations, and many other businesses offering traveling supplies or services can be found in the city, most along Foothill Boulevard. La Cañada Flintridge is the perfect starting point for the rewarding drive across the Angeles Crest Scenic Byway.
The Perfect Resting PointFor the traveler who wishes to do more than just fuel up, La Cañada Flintridge certainly doesn't disappoint. The city is home to Descanso Gardens, a world famous garden with live-oak forest, a lake, meadows, and a bird sanctuary. Additionally,hiking, mountain biking, and even equestrian trails cross through various parts of the city, with trails breaking off into the Angeles National forest. The city also features a multiplex movie theater, and golf, tennis, and riding clubs.
The south end of the byway, just north of Los Angeles
This famous astronomical research facility is the place where important revolutions in science have occurred.
Follow the Angeles Crest Highway from La Canada for 14 miles to Red Box Road; turn right, and go another 5 miles to the Observatory gate.
Just east of the San Bernadino County line.