Summary: I really enjoyed this hike through Trail Canyon along the banks of Gold Creek. The trail starts out on a fire road, with several cabins from the 1920's dotting the landscape. After about 3/4 of a mile the trail narrows and begins a half mile long gradual accent through a lovely alder lined stream bed. The trail then leaves the stream bed moves up along the slopes of this amazingly deep canyon. At 1.5 miles in from the start, the lovely falls come into to few. I found a several somewhat steep side trails that dropped into the base of the falls. This is a spectacular setting, not to be missed!
After the falls, the trail continues for another 2 miles or so to Tom Lucas Camp. The hiking is pleasant and the terrain quite lovely. I was not successful in spotting the camp, and wound up walking at least a mile past it supposed location on the map. All the guide books say it there, and other hikers I talked to say they have been there, but I sure didn't see it!
Trailhead: From the 210 freeway in Sunland, take the Sunland exit and head north east to Mt Gleason Avenue. Turn left and follow Mt Gleason to a T intersection with Big Tujunga Canyon. Turn right and follow Big Tujunga 4.5 miles to Trail Canyon Road on the left. Note that Trail Canyon is a fairly narrow dirt road, a bit bumpy, but passable. Follow the dirt road to the parking area/gate. (Lat:34.30564 Lon:-118.25527)
Trail Guides for Trail Canyon - Tom Lucas Camp:
Hike Los Angeles Volume 2
by Dennis Gagnon (Western Tanager Press)
101 Hikes in Southern California
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Trails of the Angles - 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels
by John W. Robinson (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Horses
Ranger Contact: Angeles National Forest, (818) 899-1900
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 12 Submit your own review
Reviewed by LaLauren on 12/14/2014
Wonderful trail that is easy to follow all the way to the waterfall. After that, a keen eye will help you stay on the trail by following ribbons tied to trees and rock cairns along the way. At the top of the trail past Tom Lucas Camp the trail becomes very overgrown. Note that the trail above the falls is not maintained and there are many downed trees that require climbing to continue. People who do not like heights should not hike here as there are several stretches of trail that are about a foot wide with a steep drop. Pay attention and it's all good. Lovely stream with shade for part of the trail. The base of the waterfall is difficult to reach (you might want to think about bringing some rope) All in all, a great day in the wil
Reviewed by Yasha on 6/8/2014
The original description on this page must have been written prior to the Station Fire, as it is not up-to-date. The trail is NOT well maintained. In fact, it is now a NON-MAINTAINED TRAIL. It is in poor condition. Two-thirds of the way to the waterfall, when the trail begins ascending the canyon wall, the trail becomes dangerous. It is a very narrow ledge in places, and you are facing a precipitous drop. Should you trip, there is nothing to break your fall. There were perhaps 11 spots where I came close to panic. I experienced quite a sense of vertigo. I would not recommend this hike to the general public, only to experienced hikers. I never tackled a trail quite this dangerous.
Reviewed by El Tee on 3/25/2014
I apologize in advance for this long dissertation on this hike, but it is meant to clear up some misconception for this hike (after the Station Fire) and prepare you for what could be a very pleasant hike (depending on when you turn around or your personal level of adventure). Seven friends from my Meetup hiking groups did this hike last Saturday â€“ March 22nd. Prior to the hike I did some research since I hadnâ€™t been here since 2009 â€“ before the Station Fire. I read some horror stories about sections of the trail being washed out and not being able find the trail in some areas. Also, some misinformation about the trail. Here are the facts: There is what appears to be a relatively new sign post at the gate that says â€œGate closes 6:0
Reviewed by MAF on 1/21/2013
You people are such whiny babies. If the gate is closed, just park there at the road and walk in.
Reviewed by Gil B on 1/14/2013
I realized from my last post, I didn't reach the actual campground, but its old location. I attempted Tom Lucas Camp again with a group. About a mile away from the Camp's coordinates, the trail disappeared and reappeared through the brush. About a third of a mile away, fallen trees blocked the path to the camp and looked very difficult to pass. We turned around at that point but it may have been passable by traveling up the stream.
Reviewed by Gil B on 1/5/2013
Gate was open today. Hike to the falls, both to and above, was fun and worth the effort. The hike beyond was rough but the stone trail markers really helped. I ended up hiking past Tom Lucas Camp, expecting a bigger camp site. After about 2.4 miles past the falls, I was fed up with trail searching and bushwacking and returned to the little one stove campground to rest. Later, It was a welcome surprise to know that was actually my destination.
Reviewed by GH on 12/30/2012
You may wanna call first. I saw on their website it may be closed. http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/angeles/recreation/camping-cabins/recarea/?recid=41688&actid=29
Reviewed by mountainman on 11/24/2012
11/23/12: Gate is now open. Very long gopher snake blocking the road. Gorgeous day. Many skeleton trees, but generally recovering from the fire. Oaks seem to be doing the best, but much greenery everywhere. Much of the cabins have survived too. Trails in pretty good shape. Only a few areas in disrepair in the climb to the falls. Creeks and falls flowing. Trail rough past the falls. Hard to follow, but I placed many markers. About a mile above the falls it becomes impassable, just before the lower camp. Much spiny brush covers the creek. Can't tell where the bottom is, resulting in scratches and bruising. Very disappointed, but still worthwhile to the falls.
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