Vincent Gap to Windy Gap is a 18.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Valyermo, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.
Directions from La Canada, CA: Vincent Gap is on the Angeles Crest Highway about 53 miles from La Canada, or 5.5 miles from Big Pines. This trail enters the Sheep Mountain Wilderness Area, and a Wilderness Permit is required if you are entering from East Fork. Permits are available at the East Fork Trailhead. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for your vehicle while parked at the trailhead.
Great hike, did this as an overnight hike on 11/22/14. Started in the parking lot for Mt. Baden-Powell - Big Horn Mine. Took the left down the Mine Gulch Trail. Easy & scenic trail down. Once you get to the riverbed the trail is harder to follow at times. We stayed to the left through the trees to keep from kicking rocks in the stream bed. At one point we came out of the trees and found the glider plane that crashed back in the 70's. Awesome find! Kept on to the Prairie Fork Trail, took that for a couple miles, mostly bush whacking, the trail is seriously overgrown & many downed trees. Spent the night in a secluded clearing, saw lots of animal prints, but saw nothing but squirrels. Hiked out the next day, from Prairie Fork back up was about 9 miles & a gain of about 2000 ft. In elevation. Beautiful & gives a feeling of remoteness.
I did this hike 8/30/14 with a couple of friends. It's about 9 miles RT to the Prairie Fork and a very enjoyable hike.
We started at the Vincent Gap trailhead and headed down the road towards Big Horn Mine. A couple of hundred yards down the trail goes off to the left. It was a little overgrown at the beginning, but by the time we returned a crew was cutting the brush back to prepare for 150 people coming the next day. I think for this National Monument BS.
The trail descends at a gentle grade and soon is a pleasant shaded walk in the woods. Views of Pine Mtn. and Baldy are in front of you.
We got down to the stream bed and followed the trail on the left side of it. Keep an eye out for ribbons and cairns marking the trail. We got off a couple of times and had to bushwhack our way back.
For the most part the trail is easy, but there were a lot of trees down to scramble over or around and some narrow rocky parts.
We made our way down to the junction of the trail up the Prairie Fork and to Cabin Flat in about 3 hours, even after losing the trail a couple of times We wandered around a bit, took some pictures, found a brush shelter someone had built and admired the water flowing down the mighty Prairie Fork.
The trip back was, of course, all up hill, but the grade was moderate and even a fat old man like me was able to make it back in under 3 hours. I was surprised at that. As usual, my friends
beat me back and were waiting for me on a bench at the parking lot. But they're pretty patient with me stumbling and grumbling up hill.
It was a nice hike, not too hot, mostly shaded, a little buggy, but not the stinging kind. I swallowed more of them then they bite me.
All in all it was an enjoyable hike. We didn't see a single person, although we came across 4 fire pits and a sleeping back on our wrong turn and a couple of pits on the river bottom and were Mine Gulch met the trail to Cabin Flat. It was a nice hike. It made me seriously consider the hike through to Heaton Flat, although I am not a fan of camping or scrambling over rocks in the river bed. More people ought to give this one a try.