Gould Mesa Road: Angeles Crest Hwy to Paul Little Picnic Site

MODERATE 138 reviews
#43 of 214 trails in

Gould Mesa Road: Angeles Crest Hwy to Paul Little Picnic Site is a 5.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near La Canada Flintridge, California that features a river 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 but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 5.2 miles Elevation Gain: 793 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

river

wildlife

The first mile out and back are the hottest and least shaded. The rest is pretty well shaded. The trail is easy-moderate difficulty, and lightly trafficked (at least when I went I only saw maybe 10-20 people max). I went on a Saturday starting around 10:30AM. There are a few picnic areas along the way, if you need a break. You’ll cross a number of creeks and a couple bridges. Overall it’s a nice trail. I ran most of the way back, and hiked most of the way to the waterfall.

hiking
rocky
23 days ago

Great trail about 3ish miles to get to the waterfall it's more of a run off but nice none the less. Getting to the waterfall is not too bad the last mile going back up is really rough since there's barely any shade and it's 1 mile all up hill. Be sure to pack lots of extra water and snacks and wear a hat. I would recommend going early or later when it's not too hot. It's not a very busy trail but there was a decent amount of people going on a Sunday.

Good workout on a hot 93°F summer day. Not much shade so definitely bring at least 2 liters of water.

hiking
29 days ago

Hiked Saturday late morning in August. This is a beautiful creek hike with a waterfall view. Accessing the canyon from this trailhead starts with a one mile descent. Be prepared for an exposed grind back up from the canyon to your car, that mile feels a lot longer in summer! From the parking area you’ll follow a paved road past a power station and then descend to a campground where the trail picks up, following the creek upstream. There are a few crossings that require decent balance to avoid wet feet. The only other thing to be aware of is that this is a mixed use trail and seems popular with mountain bikers. The trail can be narrow in places where the brush is thick so keep an eye out of them. Overall this is a great hike in a beautiful forest!

hiking
bugs
30 days ago

Refreshing trail if you need a hike with some gorgeous water in the summer! Didn’t see any signs specifically for Gould along the trail, so follow signs for Paul Little. More sun exposed than I expected though - the only real shade you get is when you cross the water ~5 times. I would also definitely say this is moderately trafficked instead of lightly trafficked - lots of bikers specifically. Saw two snakes on the trail (not rattlesnake tho), so be on the lookout. Great birding spot too, lots of variety, and saw a steller’s jay way outside their usual territory!

hiking
2 months ago

Love this trail

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked this area a leisurely pace with friends and family. Highly recommend you take your time to enjoy the wildflowers, the creek crossings, and the waterfall at the end. watch out for the runners and cyclists! The only challenging part is the last mile on your way back. Straight up hill!

hiking
2 months ago

Nice shady trail with little elevation gain. Many creek crossings make this a fun hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Loved it the creek crossings were very challenging but they were easy to get across the waterfall at the End of the trail was imaginably breathtaking the flowers great air quality I would recommend this hike to anyone first part of the hike is all downhill then coming back you have to have your wits about you so any walking sticks trekking poles or anything that you have is good for you to use when you're walking up the hill and it would make a difference on your body

hiking
bridge out
rocky
washed out
3 months ago

the trail starts a couple miles up the 2 from the 210. There is a turn out where you can park and walk down the fire road between a house and a power plans.

hiking
4 months ago

Phone read 5.82m in 1:29:59 with 817ft of elevation gain. Neat trail after you get down the hill from the parking lot. Man made waterfall at the end is well worth the trip. If you are not spry plan on having wet feet with all of the creek crossings. On way back to car that hill is a grind. Darn reverse hikes.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is really three bits. The first third is a half paved half rocky trail that is relatively steep downhill (or uphill obviously), the second is scenic and flat, and the third is creek crossing city. The three things I would let hikers know is that 1) there’s a small, but very convenient parking lot nearby, 2) all of the creeks require a balancing act, so if you’re uncomfortable walking on logs, take note that you’ll need to do it like 6 times—if you lose balance, you’re walking for miles with soggy feet, and 3) the hardest part is the last (first) section, hiking back up the half road half rock trail. So don’t tire yourself out! Anyways, very nice trail, particularly after you get past the camp site. Beautiful!

hiking
4 months ago

Just a note that all of the stream crossings have been supplemented with tree trunks. If you are reasonably balanced, you can use a combination of boulders and trunks to get across without getting wet. The actual trail is quite flat (ignoring the first downhill mile on the fire road which is obviously uphill at the end). This makes it really kid-friendly, although our 6 year old was the only kid on the trail. Great flowers, clean air, beautiful stream, nice views up through the canyon into the mountains. Mostly shaded except for the first and last mile.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome trail. The decline/incline at the trail head was steep for my crappy knees but when you get into the canyon it’s shaded and gorgeous. There were plenty of green and wild flowers to ooo and awww at. Like other reviewers, there is about 5(?) places where you’ll get your feet wet but it’s worth it for the waterfall at the end. Note: you wanna go THRU the SECOND picnic area and not up the canyon walls like us dumdums. Also there were a lot of mountain bikes when we were there. Cheers!

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail for this time of the year since it is green and lush from the rain. Prepare to get your feet wet. The path crosses the stream a few times and it is still ankle to calf deep. The road down into the canyon is a bit washed out from the rain but not impassable. Same goes for a couple spots closer towards the end of this track where the trail runs along the stream. Otherwise it was nice and easy.

Ton of water crossings! Either wear water shoes or an extra set of socks and shoes for the ride home.

Need maintenance

Will have to come back after the runoff from the rains has stopped. Part of the trail has become a river several inches deep with a fairly strong current. Water would have gone up to calves. What we were able to do was very pretty, however!

7 months ago

This hike on the way down is a breeze! all down hill. super pretty and lots to see. theres about 4-5 little rivers you have to cross over (me fav part!) lots of little trails to follow. theres is one section that has a HUGE green patch. on your way back up you will need to pace yourself. it is a long steady climb. this trail has tons of rocks u have to step over, it is very easy to slip and or sprain an ankle if ur not paying attention. I recommend wearing some kind of shoe with ankle support. over all beautiful hike. I def recommend it.

hiking
9 months ago

hiking
11 months ago

Going up the canyon on the shaded Gabrielino trail is pleasant enough, but the hike down and back up to the Gabrielino trail, on an old road grade, is not very fun.

hiking
11 months ago

Virtual Hike: https://youtu.be/fmPD8Ikc0UM You just gotta love this hike. The campsite is easy to get to, and the hiking options from the campsite are plentiful. I started in the morning to avoid heat this time of year, but I’ve hit up this trail before midday and it provides a good amount of shade once you make it down to the canyon. The trail starts by the last few houses on the right hand side as you are driving north on Angeles Crest Highway, as you leave La Canada. There’s a turnout usually with a few cars, so it’s relatively obvious where to park. Follow the paved road past the gate and keep following the paved road past the Socal Edison Power Plant. It will quickly turn into a dirt fire road that switchbacks down to the camp. On your way down the switchbacks, there is a cool little “junkyard” of structural materials and what look to be fire road maintenance tools, (I could be wrong). Shortly thereafter, you’ll find yourself at Gould Mesa Camp, which has a good amount of room for campers. I saw someone on a couple trips back and forth using a rolling dolly to bring camping gear down. There were some campers with tents set up and a few runners making the turn back down the other entrance to the campground towards JPL. A serene creek runs through the campsite adding to the peacefulness of the area. I decided to hang there for awhile, but then wanted to explore a bit further, so I followed the sign to the Paul Little Picnic area. Along the way, I encountered some deer, mountain bikers, and a couple other hikers. It’s about a mile from the campground to the picnic area, and you pass the Nino Picnic Area on the way there. It’s interesting to get this perspective of the canyon beneath Angeles Crest Hwy as I’ve driven past there up top many of times. I spent little bit of time on a picnic bench, took some video, and then headed back to the Gould Mesa Camp. The last part of the hike was the hardest; the climb out of Gould Mesa Camp, but it’s not so bad. The fact that it was noon by the time I was climbing back up made it a bit harder, but most hikers should have no problem with this incline. All in all a wonderful hike and a great way to spend a morning! Hope you enjoy! Playlist for the trail: https://sptfy.com/1zKm

Saturday, September 15, 2018

This “trail” sucks. It’s paved for a large chunk of the way, in the sun, with very little shade and there’s no water for the first mile. Not a great trail for taking dogs especially on a hot day. It’s a steep decline in, and a steep incline out. The reviews here are not accurate.

hiking
Sunday, September 09, 2018

Beginning is all downhill to Gould-Mesa trail camp. Past the campground the trail levels out and 2/3 of way in you’ll start criss-crossing a stream (decent amount of water for early September). The waterfall at the end of the trail is solid. Coming back you will be in for a decent climb to the trailhead.

hiking
Monday, August 20, 2018

Got to the parking area right on the highway around 7 AM and we were the first people there. We didn't run into anybody else until right before the picnic area. The water dam area is just past the picnic spot and worth the time to see. Passed a few kids doing their cross-country training on our way back. Overall great hike, few people, and mostly shaded. The climb back up to the car was grueling though

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