Brown Mountain/El Prieto Trail

MODERATE 18 reviews
#2 of 4 trails in

Brown Mountain/El Prieto Trail is a 7.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Altadena, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

7.5 miles 1434 feet Loop

dog friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

hiking
2 months ago

WARNING: someone broke into my car and another hiker's car at the parking lot just south of Ventura on Windsor. The break-in occurred between 4pm and 8pm on Sept. 17. There are apparently a lot of break-ins at the lot, so make sure to hide your valuables if you park there.

As for the trail, it was an enjoyable and moderately challenging hike (I went counterclockwise). There's shade in some parts but in other areas there's direct sun. I can imagine it getting extremely hot during the day during the summer months. Also, be on the lookout for mountain bikers (the trail is full of them).

Next time I plan on making the trek all the up way to Brown Mountain.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice trail and great views.

hiking
5 months ago

You get it all with this loop- forested single track, fireroad and decent elevation gain to the saddle. Parking at end of West Altadena Dr. saves some time and gets you closer to the start of the climb. Popular with the mountain bikers too; but plenty of room for all. Nice city views too.

hiking
7 months ago

Such pretty wild flowers and wonderful views make this one of my local favorites. What out for the mountain bikes flying down the training and sitting in poison oak and all will be well.

8 months ago

9 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Loved it. Starts out as a paved fire road then turns into a nice long hike. Did the whole thing in about 4 hours with breaks.

hiking
9 months ago

11 months ago

Good length for a workout! Dangerous with the many mountain bikers zooming past on the narrow and rocky trails!

11 months ago

There's a lot you can do here, you can take a left Gabrielino trail (Lower Brown Mtn) to the camp ground and water fall, or you can take a right and go up Brown Mtn trail to the saddle and from there continue left to B Mtn water tank or left go down to Millard Camp Gtound or fork off to The Ever Wicked Fun, El Pierto . .

Ton of fun for all levels . . you can yake you kids or your hard core nail biting friends . .

hiking
1 year ago

Great Hike. You start from the parking lot on the corner of N Windsor Ave and Ventura St. You proceed North toward the gated area. You continue past the gates onto the paved Gabrieleno Trail and follow it until you reach the first crossroad. Keep right and continue on Gabrieleno Trail into Millard Canyon (The left trail is Explorer Rd which goes down into JPL facility area). Follow the paved road past a few turns and over a white wooden bridge until you come to the second fork. Keep Right onto N Arroyo Blvd (Left is the rest of Gabrieleno Trail). Follow the "road" until you reach a third fork. Again keep Right on N Arroyo Blvd (Left is residential areas) until you reach yet another fork (THE TRAIL HEAD!). Here you can decide to do a long loop or just a to-and-from, as well as, choose which trail you want. To the left you will have a large dirt path leading up the mountain (Fern Truck Road). There is little to no shade on this trail and its more mountain and valley views than anything. It also has a steeper grade overall. It is far easier to reach your destination that the route to the right, as there aren't any forks on this trail. OR you can take the more scenic (my favorite route) and fun route by going slightly to the right (Marked as Lower Brown Mt/El Prieto Trail (Which is the one depicted in this trail page). The LBM trail is very green, scenic, and has lots of wildlife, wild flowers, and picnic areas. You will also pass lots of flood walls that sometimes have running water and waterfalls from time to time after heavy rain. Beware that you will have to share the trail with mountain bikers as they use the lower trail primarily because of winding trails and scenic route. Once higher in the canyon this trail intersects with Millard Canyon Rd. You will want to take the left on that fork to head toward the top of Brown Mountain (Brown Mountain Junction). The trail will become less vegetated and more of canyon and valley scenery. When you see the tall green pine looking trees (Not sure what they are) you are almost at the top! Once reaching those trees you have reached the top! Now you can either continue the loop or go back down the way you came. To continue the loop just go straight ahead toward the large bushed path (Fern Truck Tail) ,not to the right where the sign points to more trails, and head down the mountain! This trail on a clear day shows views of all the San Gabriel Valley, as well as, views of DTLA! its amazing.

mountain biking
1 year ago

Amazing climb up the fire road with an epic downhill. Some technical downs that can be walked. Puddle crossing was awesome after the rain.

trail running
1 year ago

El Prieto... As a trail runner, this is a challenging trail. From parking lot its 2K to trail head and then its a fair straight up click. Set a steady pace and don't break. First few times, is a bit difficult getting use to trail and elevation gains, but I promise you it gets easier. Once you reach the top, take a moment to rest and look around, and then buck it back down. What a rush... you can double your pace here, but watch out for ankle sprain/strains. A steady pace up is about 36 minutes and 20 minutes down.

Cyclists: I run early morning when the sun goes up, and they are usually going up the fire road. So I make it up before they head down. On the way down, however, they can fly down. All riders have been appropriate and careful. That does not mean, they ALL will be.
Hikers: Few and far between in the mornings.
Trail runners: a few all in their own world.
Animals: Haven't seen any dangerous or scary ones.
Bring water, if you have to rest at the picnic tables, as the it becomes more difficult beyond this area.

mountain biking
2 years ago

One of my favorite single tracks. I have been riding this trail for 6+ years and it never disappoints. I live only a few miles away and feel spoiled having this trail in my backyard! The ride up is some what short and moderate, but the ride down the single track is so rewarding and hard to beat in the San Gabriels.

hiking
2 years ago

Nice Hike - If you are willing to scramble off trail for a while, there are some nice places for a private picnic.

mountain biking
2 years ago

I went up and down the same trail, which is pretty technical to climb but there apparently is another way up through arroyo seco canyon. Awesome ride though. Lots of creek crossings and lots of rocks to maneuver through. One of my favorites yet.

mountain biking
4 years ago

Great trail nice scenery and not too intimidating aerobically !

mountain biking
4 years ago

Nice quick trail with lots of shade in between. I went up el prieto trail and back down the same way. It took me an hr to go up (walking slowly) and a little less to get down. In my opinion it was an intermediate type trail, because there was a few technical parts with rocks and some tight switchbacks. Overall, it is a fun ride down.