Red Box Trail to West Fork Trail Campground

MODERATE 9 reviews
#84 of 136 trails in

Red Box Trail to West Fork Trail Campground is a 4.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Sierra Madre, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
4.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1295 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

camping

hiking

mountain biking

forest

river

views

wildlife

blowdown

bugs

over grown

Directions from Pasadena, CA: Travel Interstate 210 north, exit the Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy. 2) and drive 14 miles to Red Box Ranger Station. Park there and walk through the gate on the Redbox-Rincon Road (not paved). Hike in about 5 miles to campground.

13 days ago

1 month ago

Just got back from hiking this (mid-week in April, the week after Spring Break). Do not follow the AllTrails map above because it isn't accurate. Nor is the elevation. What this map is showing is the 2.4 mile hike (1145 foot elevation loss) down to Valley Forge Campground. But you have to follow SOMETHING because the trail isn't really marked to tell you where to go. After descending the steps at the trailhead at Red Box Picnic area, the trail turns to the left. It's fairly easy to follow for awhile then you'll come to where it crosses the road. Look for the sign toward your right, by the retaining wall of the road. Follow the trail through the old cabin area (we thought cabin 21 looked like something out of a horror movie) and there's a wooden green trail marker next to the left side of the trail that has no markings on it. At about 2.2 miles you'll come to a fork in the trail. The marker says trail or campground. Valley Forge campground is down and to the left. (We thought that was really pretty and quiet. There are several sites and four pit toilets right by the stream. There actually a couple of more "hidden" sites downstream and two more pit toilets. Probably about a dozen campsites total. There were only three other groups occupying the camp while we were there, but we also did this hike mid-week.) To keep going to West Fork...Follow the trail up and to the right at the fork previously mentioned. You'll come to another fork about .2-.4 miles later (if memory serves). It doesn't really tell you which way to go...GO LEFT. From here the trail gets more open-air with less shade and starts to feel "wrong" because you keep going up and away from the water. (We actually stopped and turned around at mile 4 because of this. It seemed like we were headed straight for Mt. Wilson in the distance so I pulled up this AllTrails map, got really confused, and turned back.) Don't despair...according to other maps and some research I did, we should have kept going and would've come to another fork shortly after that. If we had gone left at that fork and kept following the trail, then it would've crossed the road just before getting to West Fork Trail Camp. We'll try again another time, now that we are better informed.

All along the trail is poison oak/ivy to watch out for and some poodle dog brush (which can cause some serious rashes even though it was dying back). There were a lot of gnats, ants, some mosquitoes, and our dog even picked up a tick along the way. It was in the 40's at night but nice (70's) during the day. It was shaded most of the way and we got some nice breezes. We were able to have a nice fire with scavenged fire wood (even though our lighter was out of fuel) but I will bring an axe (and a full lighter) next time. Make sure you have the fire permit. And make sure you have your recreational pass for your parked car.

This is definitely a moderate hike with the elevation gain/loss, all of the "river" crossings (which were really easy for us to cross, despite our heavy packs, given the water level was pretty low in the streams and there were generous amount of rocks to step on), the narrow trail (at times), navigational issues, the plant life to keep an eye out for, all the downed trees to get over/under, etc. But it's really a low traffic trail, has great views, and is a great little escape from the nearby hustle and bustle of LA.

backpacking
1 month ago

Great trail but this page is all wrong. There's nearly 2,500 feet of elevation gain and lost, with lots of rolling hills. The trail is really poorly marked and covered with at least 20 downed trees that you have to climb over and under, which is specifically hard while carrying a pack. Carry a filter and a liter of water and you'll be fine (at least right now after all the rain) because you cross running streams a dozen times. The trail is narrow and there is about 40% open air but lots of shade to keep you cool. Valley Forge is the trail at about 2.2 miles where the sign simply points left to "campground" and right points to "trail" so don't go down that way unless you're looking for a pit toilet and some tables to have lunch at. That said, three of us, with a dog took about 3.5 hours to get from the trailhead to West Fork. Of the 7 campsites, 4 others were full aside from ours. On the way out, we split it into two days with an overnight break at Valley Forge campground. They had 4 pit toilets while West Fork only had one. No TP, terrible ventilation but it's better than digging holes. PACK OUT WHAT YOU PACK IN. These trails have no trash cans and people left all sorts of trash at Valley Forge. Lots of great views though.

hiking
2 months ago

backpacking
2 months ago

We began our hike from the Red Box RS to the West Fork camp and camped there overnight. The trail in many spots are overgrown with brush. We also had an unusually heavy rainy season so there were plenty of broken trees and downed rocks blocking the trail. There are plenty of waterfalls along the trail since we've had so much rain the past few weeks. The creek was also pretty swollen with water at ankle deep level at many crossing points. The camp sites with fire rings and picnic tables are awesome, located along the river bed with plenty of rooms for a dozen tents or so. There is a restroom but no trash bin. Overall it was a very nice backpacking experience and I would recommend it.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A lot of fallen trees and easy to lose the trail once you are down by the creek.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Too much bugs

hiking
Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Fairly easy, lots of firewood and water for filtration as of early 2015

camping
Monday, July 13, 2015

Hiked the Gabrielino trail from the Red Box trail head to West Fork Trail Campground on Friday July 3rd, and returned early July 4th. There were not too many hikers either day on the trail, and I was the only one in the campground at night. The camp had 6 or 7 sites with picnic tables, fire pits, and there was one pit toilet. The campground is at the intersection of the Gabrielino trail and Silver Moccasin trail. There was still water in the small creek that runs by the camp. The trail does not see heavy use and there were parts that were very overgrown, sometimes with poison oak, so be careful. There were also numerous fallen trees that blocked the trail, and I had to climb over 3 and crawl on my hands and knees under one, it was pretty difficult with a full pack. There were tons of bugs, but that's what I get for coming out in July. If you are looking for seclusion, this seems like it would be a good trail for that. There are also a few other campsites within a few miles (Valley Forge, Devore) if this one is not suitable.