At one time the Fish Canyon Trail was considered to be one of the most pleasant trips in the Angeles National Forest with a wonderful sight at the end of the trail. Then about 10 years ago, Vulcan closed off public access to the Fish Canyon trail, and loudly proclaimed that a new trail had been built, by-passing the quarry, to provide public access to the canyon and the falls. That “New Trail” is a real joke!

The supposedly safer new trail takes you up 1500 feet, then back down 1200 feet, to a point where you can climb up another 300 feet to the falls. Quite an arrangement to replace the original 300 foot climb, which kids and the elderly could manage. No longer. Only those who want to face a grueling climb, on a steep, poorly-constructed trail, are able to make it. When the new (trail?) was constructed, it was routed through thickets of poison oak, which was only chopped off, not dug out by the roots, and has since re-grown vigorously (and dangerously).

In addition, an expansion of current mining operations, recently proposed by Vulcan Materials, will, at least temporarily, close this trail, completely cutting off access to the falls except at the whim of the company to allow access through the mine (on rare Saturdays).

Any new trail will have to skirt the 80 acre expansion property, through which the current trail traverses. According to Vulcan’s revised conditional use permit, “The preliminary alternatives tests created by VMC indicate that a reasonably close relationship to the existing trail can be achieved, which would still provide a rich experience for the recreational trail user.” They fail to mention that this “rich experience” would probably add at least another mile to the trail, plus ~500 feet of switchbacks to get back to the ridge.

The three-tier waterfall, called the “Most Beautiful in the San Gabriels”.

Pool at the bottom of the falls

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