Red Box to Valley Forge Trail Camp, Gabrielino Trail, 6 Miles RT, 4,868' Max Elevation, 1,276' +/-, September 23, 2018

Today we hiked the Gabrielino Trail East from Red Box to Valley Forge Trail Camp with the option to continue on to West Fork and Devore Trail Camps if we felt up to it. With the cool morning temperatures and the trail covered in falling leaves from the towering oaks that surrounded us, it was finally starting to feel like fall. The first part of the trail descended the steep stone steps from the Red Box picnic area then continued down some exposed switchbacks. It wasn’t long until we were in the cool shade of the oaks following the trail along the South Fork of the San Gabriel River. The stream was dry at this time of year, but that didn’t stop the gnats from bothering us. Luckily, we were prepared and always have our bug nets with us which prevented the pesky insects from flying into our eyes.

On our route we passed by some cabins and the ruins of an old, stone chimney. After about two miles, we reached the junction for the Valley Forge Trail Camp that was marked with a sign at the spur. We descended the spur to the camp to check it out and see if it was a place we’d like to stay as a future backpacking trip. The camp was lovely with plenty of shade, fire rings, picnic tables and primitive bathrooms. We set up at one of the picnic tables and decided to stay a while. I made friends with a Steller’s Jay who invited himself to our breakfast table. It was a very nice day and we were thoroughly enjoying the peace and quiet! This hike along this section of the Gabrielino Trail reminded me a bit of Santa Anita Canyon sans the crowds. We will definitely be coming back when the weather cools down a bit more to hike the longer routes to West Fork and Devore Trail Camps, and perhaps enjoy an overnight stay.

We started our hike from the Red Box picnic area on the Gabrielino Trail East by going down down these steep stone steps.

We started our hike from the Red Box picnic area on the Gabrielino Trail East by going down down these steep stone steps.

The morning sunshine made for beautiful light.

The morning sunshine made for beautiful light.

The trail becomes exposed for a short distance, but that doesn’t last very long.

The trail becomes exposed for a short distance, but that doesn’t last very long.

Soon we dipped down into the canyon underneath the shaded oaks.

Soon we dipped down into the canyon underneath the shaded oaks.

We passed a sign to let us know we were heading in the right direction to Valley Forge Trail camp.

We passed a sign to let us know we were heading in the right direction to Valley Forge Trail camp.

Parts of the trail were full of lush green vegetation.

Parts of the trail were full of lush green vegetation.

We stopped for a moment to listen to soft, peaceful chirping of the crickets.

We stopped for a moment to listen to soft, peaceful chirping of the crickets.

“G” marks the Gabrielino Trail.

“G” marks the Gabrielino Trail.

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We came upon some cabins. All of them seemed to be in good condition. From what I understand, this one was once used by the Long Beach School District to give the kids a taste of the outdoors.

We came upon some cabins. All of them seemed to be in good condition. From what I understand, this one was once used by the Long Beach School District to give the kids a taste of the outdoors.

Remains of an old chimney. Not sure what the story is on this, but I’ve made note to do some more research.

Remains of an old chimney. Not sure what the story is on this, but I’ve made note to do some more research.

This cabin looked like the door was propped open, but there didn’t seem to be anyone around. We did not explore out of respect for whoever owns the cabin, but it sure was tempting to want to go in and take a peek.

This cabin looked like the door was propped open, but there didn’t seem to be anyone around. We did not explore out of respect for whoever owns the cabin, but it sure was tempting to want to go in and take a peek.

We soon arrived at the junction where you can take a spur down to Valley Forge Trail Camp, or continue along the Gabrielino Trail to West Fork and Devore Trail Camps. We chose to save that trip for another day, as the weather was still a bit too warm and I don’t like hiking in the heat. It was also quite buggy so we both used our fly nets which work wonders!

We soon arrived at the junction where you can take a spur down to Valley Forge Trail Camp, or continue along the Gabrielino Trail to West Fork and Devore Trail Camps. We chose to save that trip for another day, as the weather was still a bit too warm and I don’t like hiking in the heat. It was also quite buggy so we both used our fly nets which work wonders!

Heading into the Valley Forge Trail Camp.

Heading into the Valley Forge Trail Camp.

There are restrooms here, picnic tables and fire pits.

There are restrooms here, picnic tables and fire pits.

I walked around the camp a bit to explore the area and found this bridge. After consulting my map, I learned that this trail would take us all the way up to Eaton Saddle.

I walked around the camp a bit to explore the area and found this bridge. After consulting my map, I learned that this trail would take us all the way up to Eaton Saddle.

The camp was very quiet today — I’d like to come here and stay overnight sometime.

The camp was very quiet today — I’d like to come here and stay overnight sometime.

We picked a spot to relax and make breakfast.

We picked a spot to relax and make breakfast.

Coffee always tastes so good out on the trail!

Coffee always tastes so good out on the trail!

This Steller’s Jay invited himself to the table.

This Steller’s Jay invited himself to the table.

After a good long rest, we started heading back.

After a good long rest, we started heading back.

The weather was warm as it usually is in September, but the sunlight and the fallen leaves made it feel like autumn.

The weather was warm as it usually is in September, but the sunlight and the fallen leaves made it feel like autumn.

There was lots of shade to enjoy along the way.

There was lots of shade to enjoy along the way.

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Almost back to Red Box. Climbing out of the canyon, we took in the views of Cucamonga Peak, Pine Mountain and Mount San Antonio.

Almost back to Red Box. Climbing out of the canyon, we took in the views of Cucamonga Peak, Pine Mountain and Mount San Antonio.

Back into the sun for a short time.

Back into the sun for a short time.

The final ascent up the stone steps. It was a wonderful day as usual!

The final ascent up the stone steps. It was a wonderful day as usual!