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Wilderness Hiking

PCT / Indian Canyon Trailhead to North Fork Saddle Picnic Site

Hike Name: Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail (PCT) – Indian Canyon Trailhead to North Fork Saddle Picnic Site


Name of area/general location:
Angeles National Forest (ANF) near Aqua Dulce and Acton


Land Acknowledgement:
This trail is located in the ancestral lands and traditional territories of the Tongva and Fernandeño Tataviam people


AllTrails Hike Link:
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/ladder-canyon-and-painted-canyon-trail–4


Trail rating:
Moderate/difficult


Trail mileage:
16.5 miles round trip (or any desired length if you decide to turn around before reaching North Fork Saddle Picnic Site)


For more information:
ANF, Acton Work Center (661) 478-4987


Description of area, sights, wildlife and any key markers on the trail:

The trail provides hikers with an opportunity for a section hike on the PCT.  Hikers can go the entire distance between Indian Canyon Trailhead and North Fork Saddle Picnic Site, or turn around at any time for a hike of any desired length.  


The trail travels through a shrubland ecosystem that includes such shrubs as buckwheat, chamise, and manzanita, with the occasional scrub oak. The trail has little to no shade, so the best time to hike this trail is spring and winter, when the temperatures are typically cooler. Fall may also be a good time, so long as the weather is cool.    


The trail provides beautiful, expansive views of the ANF, including Magic Mountain Wilderness on the south side of Soledad Canyon Road and Three Sisters Rock on the north side of Soledad Canyon.  The area in which this segment of the PCT lies is habitat for
several rare and imperiled species.  While hiking this segment of the PCT, you may encounter the quino checkerspot butterfly, which is listed as endangered on the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) or the slender-horned spineflower which is listed on both the State and Federal ESAs.  The slender-horned spineflower is an annual herb that is native and endemic (limited) to California.  The California Native Plant Society has given this plant a 1B.1 California Rare Plant Ranking, which means that it is rare, threatened, or endangered in California and elsewhere and seriously threatened in California.


This section of the PCT has steady elevation change, the most significant of which occurs in the last 4.3 miles or so.  The elevation at the trailhead is 2,298 feet, 2,718 feet at 4 miles in, and 4,173 feet at North Fork Saddle Picnic Site. 


There are some locations where the trail is narrow with steep drop offs, so this trail is not recommended for families with small children. This hike, however, is pet friendly and it’s an excellent hiking experience for dogs and their owners. 


Dogs are allowed on this trail, so long as they are on a leash.


Please note that you must display an Adventure Pass on your vehicle to park at the Indian Canyon Trailhead parking lot.  You can purchase one on the ANF website’s
recreation pass page.  The fee is $5 per day or $30 for a year pass.  Interagency passes are also accepted.  The trailhead parking lot has a pit toilet, picnic table, and trash receptacles.

Directions: From Los Angeles drive north on Interstate 5 to Highway 14 (in the Newhall Pass) to Soledad Canyon Road exit.  Exit and turn right.  Travel 7.4 miles to the Indian Canyon Trailhead (which will be on your right shortly after you pass the Acton Conservation Camp).

 

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Caution:
Weather and road conditions can change in an instant. Always check with the managing agency before embarking on a trip. Always hike with a friend and carry a cell phone for emergencies. Bring plenty of drinking water, food, and clothing for changing weather conditions. Let someone know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Remember, California’s wild places are beautiful but they can also be dangerous to the unprepared and unwary. The California Wilderness Coalition assumes no liability if you intend to visit any of the wild places featured in our materials