West Fork of the San Gabriel River

The West Fork of the San Gabriel River rises near Red Box Gap, where the Mt. Wilson Road leaves the Angeles Crest Highway, and flows almost directly eastward through a deep valley that is one of the most picturesque locations in the entire San Gabriel Mountains. It's eastern extremely is followed closely by a road extending from a turn-off on Highway 39 all the way to the Cogswell Dam, approximately 8 miles, much of that distance being within the riverine environment of leafy trees and shade. The road is primarily for access to the dam, has never been open to the general public although it is freely accessible by bicycle or on foot. It's well worth visiting at different times of the year to see the variation in colors. This is Hike 71 in John Robinson's book Trails of the Angeles.

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A. IN THE FALL — a place to see fall colors

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The river in a tunnel of shadow

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Big-cone Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga macrocarpa)

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Western sycamore (Platanus racemosa)

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Big-leaf maple (Acer macrophyllum)

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Velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina)

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Velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina)

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Goldback fern (Pentagramma triangularis subsp. triangularis)

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White alder (Alnus rhombifolia)

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White alder (Alnus rhombifolia)

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Monarch caterpillar on narrowleaf milkweed (Asclepius fascicularis)

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Milkweed bug on narrowleaf milkweed (Asclepius fascicularis)

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Painted lady

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West coast lady

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Propertius duskywing

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Reflections in the San Gabriel River

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Longstem wild buckwheat (Eriogonum elongatum var. elongatum)

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California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum)

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Hollyleaf redberry (Rhamnus ilicifolia)

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The river

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White alder (Alnus rhombifolia)

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The river in a tunnel of alders

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B. IN THE WINTER — mostly ferns

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Along the river

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Along the river

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White alder (Alnus rhombifolia)

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White alder (Alnus rhombifolia)

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White alder (Alnus rhombifolia)

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Road along the river

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Goldback fern (Pentagramma triangularis subsp. triangularis)

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Goldback fern (Pentagramma triangularis subsp. triangularis)

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Coffee fern (Pellaea andromedifolia)

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California polypody (Polypodium californicum)

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California polypody (Polypodium californicum)

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Bigelow's spikemoss (Selaginella bigelovii)

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Bigelow's spikemoss (Selaginella bigelovii)

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Incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens)

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Targionia hypophylla, a liverwort

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Asterella californica, a liverwort

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Coastal wood fern (Dryopteris arguta)

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Coastal wood fern (Dryopteris arguta)

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Southern maidenhair fern Adiantum capillus

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Southern maidenhair fern Adiantum capillus

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"Weeping wall" of maidenhair fern

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Bird's fooit fern (Pellaea mucronata var. mucronata)

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Milk maids (Cardamine californica)

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Milk maids (Cardamine californica)

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Round-leafed boykinia (Boykinia rotundifolia)

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Bigberry manzanita (Arctostaphylos glauca)

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The river in November 2008

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The river in February 2009

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Reflections in the river

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Reflections in the river

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Reflections in the river

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Thanks to Jane Strong for assistance in identificaiton of plants and flowers.

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