The Flora of the PCT
Section D. San Gabriel Mountains

RT Hawke, Shaun Hawke and Tom Chester

Fig. 1. Pictures taken on the PCT near Lightning Ridge, 13 July 2013, by Tom Chester. Left: Gilia ochroleuca ssp. vivida, volcanic gilia. Right: Malacothamnus fremontii, Fremont's bush mallow. Click on the pictures to get larger versions.

Trail Sections With Links to the Plant Checklists


See The Flora of the Pacific Crest Trail: Overview for an Introduction to these plant checklists.

Fig. 2. Trail Map for the PCT through the San Gabriel Mountains, from USDA Forest Service Interactive Map. See a map with the approximate locations of segments D1 through D7.

The San Gabriel Mountains are the last big mountain range in southern California on the northward track of the PCT. It is the third "saint" of the San Jacinto and San Bernardino mountain group. Like the other saints, a great proportion of its flora is related to the flora of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. As another mountain "island", the San Gabriels have a diverse and interesting flora.

Section D begins at Interstate 15 and proceeds up the northeast flank of the range with great long distance views from the trail. The orientation of the range (and trail) also parallels the San Andreas Fault, and many fault features can be viewed from the trail. The trail ascends and first attains the crest at Blue Ridge. The trail stays on this crest for most of the range, reaching its high point at Mt. Baden-Powell. The western end of the mountain range experienced a huge destructive fire a few years ago and is in the first stages of recovery.

Michael Charters is also working on the Flora of the PCT in the San Gabriel Mountains as a three to five year project, so the checklists for this area should eventually be among the most complete and accurate checklists for the PCT in southern California; see San Gabriel Mountain Photo Galleries of Michael Charters.

Trail Sections With Links to the Plant Checklists

The Section Description name will be linked to the plant checklists as they become available.

A link to the San Gabriel Mountain Photo Galleries of Michael Charters for each section is given immediately following the Section Description name with the link name MC. Michael has divided the PCT into more sections, so there are sometimes multiple links to his pages from one of these sections.

See the complete list of San Gabriel PCT species compiled by Michael, presented section by section. Michael's lists includes species observed by us, just as our checklists include species observed by Michael and others. Michael has a link to the species checklist for each section in each of his Photo Galleries as well.

Table 1. Sections of the PCT in the San Gabriel Mountains

Section DesignatorSection Description (linked to checklist); (MC link)Length (miles)Elevations (feet)
D1 Interstate 15 to Lone Pine Canyon Road (MC)5.530003800800
D2Lone Pine Canyon to 3N29 - area flora (MC)4.5350052001700
D33N29 to 3N31 (MC (part))4.0510063001200
D43N31 to Highway 2 (Inspiration point)
    D4a 3N31 to Saddle at Peak 6966 - area flora (MC (part))
    D4b Saddle at Peak 6955 to end of Guffy / Blue Ridge Road (MC)
    D4c end of Guffy / Blue Ridge Road to Inspiration Point - area flora (MC)
D5Highway 2 (Inspiration point) to Highway 2 (Vincent gulch divide) - area flora (MC)4.565007400900
D6Highway 2 (Vincent gulch divide) to Highway 2 (Islip Saddle) (MC1; MC2)
    D6a Vincent Gap to Mt. Baden-Powell (3.8 miles, +2800 feet)
    D6b Mt. Baden-Powell to Throop Peak (2.6 miles, +400, -800 feet)
    D6c Throop Peak to Windy Gap (2.9 miles, -1300 feet)
    D6d Windy Gap to Islip Saddle (2.4 miles, -900 feet)
D7Highway 2 (Islip Saddle) to Highway 2 (Eagles Roost picnic area) (MC)4.0660079001300
D8Highway 2 (Eagles Roost picnic area) to Highway 2 (Cloudburst Summit)
    D8a Highway 2 (Eagles Roost picnic area) to Highway 2 (Cloudburst Summit) - This section is officially closed (MC1)
    D8b Burkhart / Rattlesnake Trail Jct to Highway 2 (Cloudburst Summit) - area flora (MC)
D9Highway 2 (Cloudburst Summit) to Highway 2 (Three Points) - area flora (MC 2013; MC 2014)4.5590070001100
D10Highway 2 (Three Points) to road 5N04 - area flora (MC 2013; MC 2014)4.052005900700
D11Road 5N04 to Angeles Forest Highway (Mill Creek Summit) (MC1); MC2)11.5490067001800
D12Angeles Forest Highway (Mill Creek Summit) to Messenger Flat Campground (MC)12.0490059001000
D13Messenger Flat Campground to Soledad Canyon Road14.0220059003700

The elevation profile of segments D1 through D8 is shown in Fig. 3.

Fig. 3. The approximate elevation vs. distance for the PCT in the eastern half of the San Gabriel Mountains, from east to west ("south to north" in PCT-speak).

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Copyright © 2013-2014 by RT Hawke, Shaun Hawke and Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to us at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Updated 22 August 2014.