Week 144: Sierra Madre

September 02, 2018

This Sierra Madre Trail Conjures the "Great Hiking Era" of the Old West, 2.25 miles

Not as much of a trail as a delightful hike through a small, yet utterly charming neighborhood that popped up at the turn of the 19th century when Angelino urbanites headed to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, north of Arcadia and below the southern edge of Angeles National Forest, for hiking and camping getaways. The great naturalist John Muir, "father of national parks" and founder of the Sierra Club, inspired the recreational use of the mountains and the "great hiking era" that lasted from the 1880s to the 1930s depression. Twenty-first-century gals that we are, thank God we didn't have to hike in the long woolen skirts of our 19th century predecessors. Guided by Charles Fleming's post in the October 24, 2015 issue of the Los Angeles Times, we started at the historic Lizzie's Trail Inn at the foot of the Mt. Wilson trail. Instead of hiking into the mountains, Fleming guided us east into a foothill community of tree-covered roads, stone walls, and turn of the century homes. Covered bridges, open bridges, and private bridges that served as driveways, cross a stoney creek running through the neighborhood and along sites of former resorts like the 1906 Carter's Camp (you can almost tell which current homes used to be camp cottages or summer retreats.) A circuitous path through streets led us to a tiny village of two buildings adding to the 1920s atmosphere of the area: Stevenson Store (a 1913 Sierra Madre Historical Landmark) and 1922's Mary's Market, a café that was open for business as we passed through. The city of Sierra Madre, "historically linked to the old mountain resorts", pioneered late 19th century summer resorts. If you're into hiking unusual neighborhoods, everything about this hike and this neighborhood evokes a summer resort feel. Made me want to go to camp. Fetching, as the old-timers would say. 

You Might Also Like


Popular Posts

Total Pageviews