East Fork to Allison Gulch, Allison Mine, & Heaton Flat Trail
Gain: 3500 ft
Distance: 13 miles
Allison Mine, one of the more difficult mines to reach in San Gabriels, provided a superb dayhike adventure.
Others’ photos and Meetup link here
11 people showed up for this trip, all expecting and not phased by any poor weather. We started from the East Fork parking lot at about 8:45 am, which was about 45 later than I had planned due to some logistical issues. However I expected it to take us about 8 hrs for the hike, so I thought we still should be able to complete the hike before dark.
I planned this hike out to be a loop hike, taking 2 trip reports from Travis Linds (gpsmountaineering) and combined portions of the them. His trip reports indicated that the trails, though previously not maintained, were actually not in bad shape as previously thought by many people.
In fact, as we reached the Heaton Flat trailhead, we ran into a group of San Gabriel Trailbuilders. I told them where we were headed, and they raised a few eyebrows saying “that trail up Allison Gulch has been washed out”. I asked when they last heard this, and it was several years ago, so I mentioned updated info indicates the trail is actually being partially maintained. They were definitely NOT happy to hear about this, indicating the illegality it. I accepted this though thinking, ‘well these guys weren’t gonna maintain it’.
So we headed off up the East Fork, and encountered our first river crossing. John has a video of me crossing.
We continued up the river, encountering a few more crossings that ate up a bit of time. I was somewhat concerned of us being behind schedule, but we picked up the pace and arrived at Allison Gulch in decent time.
The beginning of the gulch:
We headed up the gulch following a faint use trail and crossing the stream multiple times, which was relatively easy and quick. The gulch is a very nice shaded area, probably lovely all times of the year.
I had marked a waypoint for where the beginning of the trail up to Allison Mine should be, and it was evident when we got to that point.
The trail up to the mine, as mentioned by Travis, has definitely been maintained. Portion of the trail has rocks embedded in a line for support, and yuccas have been trimmed:
I actually really liked this trail. It was very steep, but did not need to use hands, and the views were great. One could say that some portions of the trail had been somewhat washed out, but nothing unreasonable.
One could see Swan Rock clearly from this trail
We continued up as the fog came in, and the trail eventually heads east toward Allison Mine.
At this point, I was looking for any indication of the old trail heading toward Stanley Miller mine. While ascending up, I was convinced I could see some indication of a trail higher up and along the contours of Iron Mt’s west side that would be that trail. However, when I reached the area where this trail would have started, nothing was clear.
I checked out one use trail, but that quickly headed into some thick brush. I then found some other use trails around a talus slope, and headed up a portion of the way. There were some more faint use trails around it, but again nothing was clear.
Anyways, we headed to the mine from this point. Someone has been camping out around here!
The first hole we found had two separate tunnels that went in probably 30 yards or so with a few branches.
Look out for John’s TR, which should photos of the bigger, and more interesting mine shafts. In the mean time, Ofir and I headed up away from the trail, trying to see if anything was left around the actually GPS coordinates of the Allison Mine location. We found plenty of rusted pipes, and some bones:
We headed down and met up with the rest of the group, and went on to check out the old Allison Mine trail that connects with the Heaton Flat trail.
At this point, not many pictures were taken as it started raining, and we were running into more wet brush that made us nice and soaked. Regardless, this trail was not in terrible shape either. It has more brush and more parts partially washed out than the trail up from Allison gulch, but it is certainly passable. Yuccas have been trimmed, so what else do you need? I suppose we are getting relatively desensitized to a little brush. I’d say this trail was less annoying than the ridge up to Monrovia Peak.
This trail did seem to take a while, but finally we connected up at Coldwater Saddle, and took the Heaton Flat trail back down. We got back at 4:45, practically 8 hrs from our start!
This is a great hike, and one that I suggest anyone to try if they are not afraid of a little brush.
This entry was posted on Monday, January 26th, 2009 at 3:08 pm and is filed under Trail Information, Trip Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.