Nestled in the Angeles National Forest just north of the sprawling Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, the Angeles Crest Highway beckons adventurers, nature enthusiasts, and thrill-seekers. Drivers often refer to the iconic route as “A Driver’s Paradise in the Sky” due to the breathtaking views of the San Gabriel Mountains. We were delighted to discover this rural mountain escape so close to the city. So if you’re ready to book two tickets to paradise, look no further than a peaceful road trip along the Angeles Crest Highway.
Buckle up! We’re revealing all you need to know before you go.
- Where Is Angeles Crest Highway?
- How Long Does It Take to Drive Angeles Crest Highway?
- What Is the Speed Limit on Angeles Crest Highway?
- Can You Drive RVs on Angeles Crest Highway?
- When Is the Best Time to Drive Angeles Crest Highway?
- Popular Activities Along Angeles Crest Highway
- Angeles Crest Highway – A Roadway to Remember
Where Is Angeles Crest Highway?
The Angeles Crest Highway, or California State Route 2, stretches across the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. It starts in La Cañada Flintridge, a picturesque city northeast of Los Angeles. It continues for approximately 66 miles, culminating in the mountain town of Wrightwood. This road is a marvel, winding through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the region.
The Angeles Crest Highway is both a National Forest Scenic Byway and an officially designated California Scenic Highway.
Pro Tip: The Santa Monica Mountains are nearby and an excellent place to hike and go for a drive.
How Long Does It Take to Drive Angeles Crest Highway?
The duration of your drive along the Angeles Crest Highway largely depends on your starting point and the number of stops you make. If you plan to drive the entire length without any detours, it typically takes around 2 to 2.5 hours to complete the journey.
However, the true allure of this highway lies in taking your time to appreciate the awe-inspiring views and explore the various attractions. Consider making it a day trip to fully savor the experience.
What Is the Speed Limit on Angeles Crest Highway?
The speed limit on Angeles Crest Highway varies on different segments of the route. In some areas, it can range from 45 to 55 miles per hour. In others, it may drop to 35 miles per hour due to winding curves and steep inclines. It’s essential to obey these speed limits to safely enjoy the scenic drive without rushing.
Can You Drive RVs on Angeles Crest Highway?
Officials have banned three-axle or more commercial trucks on the Angeles Crest Highway. While Angeles Crest Highway is a spectacular road to explore, we do not think it is suitable for RVs and large vehicles.
The narrow, winding roads and steep grades can make maneuvering challenging, and some sections may have length restrictions. Please check with local authorities and road conditions before attempting the drive with an RV or similarly sized vehicle.
Suggested Reading: RVing the Pacific Coast: California, Oregon, and Washington.
When Is the Best Time to Drive Angeles Crest Highway?
The best time to drive Angeles Crest Highway is during the spring, summer, and early fall. During these months, the weather is pleasant and the road is generally free from snow and ice. Spring brings vibrant wildflowers, while fall showcases the beauty of changing foliage. If you’re looking for a more peaceful driving experience, consider doing your Angeles Crest Highway adventure on weekdays, which are generally less crowded than on weekends.
The highway is typically closed in the winter from Islip Saddle to Vincent Gap due to rockfall and avalanche hazards.
Popular Activities Along Angeles Crest Highway
There are many viewpoints and stops to explore while cruising along the Angeles Crest Highway. Take your time traveling to stop at the following spots.
Hike Switzer Falls Trail
This picturesque 2-mile trail is a hidden gem along the highway. The hike begins at Switzer Picnic Area and meanders through a lush canyon with towering trees and a creek. As you follow the trail, you’ll eventually see Switzer Falls, a stunning 50-foot waterfall cascading into a cool pool.
This waterfall is a great spot for a refreshing dip or a peaceful picnic. The hike is relatively moderate, making it accessible to hikers of various skill levels. It’s an excellent way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Stop at the Mount Wilson Observatory
Atop Mount Wilson at an elevation of 5,710 feet, the Mount Wilson Observatory is a testament to scientific exploration. Founded in 1904, this historic observatory has played a pivotal role in our understanding of the universe. Visitors can embark on a guided tour to learn about the observatory’s fascinating history and its contributions to astronomy.
The observatory near the Angeles Crest Highway boasts some of the most powerful telescopes accessible to the public, providing a chance to observe distant celestial objects in detail. The views from Mount Wilson offer a glimpse into the sprawling urban landscape below and the endless expanse of the skies above.
Enjoy a Picnic at Eagles Roost Picnic Area
Eagles Roost Picnic Area is a spot to take a break from your drive and savor the beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains. With multiple picnic tables set against the backdrop of sweeping vistas, you can enjoy a leisurely meal with family or friends. You’ll often spot birds nearby. If you’re lucky, you might even see a majestic eagle, which the area is named after. Bring food to these scenic views for an enjoyable meal. Just be careful to clean up and leave no trace before you return to the route.
Check Out the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center
Sitting at the 7,400-foot elevation marker, the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center is an excellent resource for travelers. You can gather valuable information about the local flora, fauna, and the history of the area. Knowledgeable park rangers can answer questions and guide your journey. The center also features interpretive displays about the diverse ecosystems of the San Gabriel Mountains. Before setting off on your adventure, stop and gain a deeper appreciation for the natural wonders that await you along this scenic highway.
Pro Tip: There are numerous things to do in the Los Angeles area. Check out our recommendations for hikes and other activities.
Angeles Crest Highway – A Roadway to Remember
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or seeking a tranquil spot to unwind, the Angeles Crest Highway has something exceptional to offer. With its sweeping curves, vistas, and many outdoor activities, it’s no wonder people call this highway “A Driver’s Paradise in the Sky.” So, pack your bags, hit the road, and let the splendor of this Southern California gem leave you rejuvenated.
Would you like to take a road trip on the Angeles Crest Highway? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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