Top Place: San Gabriel Mountains

San Gabriel Mountains in California
Department of Public Works
The San Gabriel Mountains — less than an hour from downtown Los Angeles — are Southern California’s recreation backyard.

Experience the San Gabriel Mountains

The San Gabriel Mountains offer an urban escape near Los Angeles. They contain Southern California’s most accessible wildlands — within an hour’s drive of more than 15 million city dwellers.

The mountains attract millions of visitors each year looking to spend time in its rivers and climbing its 10,000-foot peaks.

What’s the one best thing about the San Gabriel Mountains?

Much of the San Gabriel Mountains are inside the Angeles National Forest, which accounts for more than 70% of the open space in Los Angeles County.

With more than 44 miles of scenic rivers, the forest also provides more than one-third of Los Angeles’ drinking water.

What’s one activity the San Gabriel Mountains are known for?

Nature walking.

Families enjoy seeing the San Gabriel Mountains’ rare and endangered species, including bighorn sheep and the mountain yellow-legged frog, and swimming in its creeks. Millions of annual visitors escape to the San Gabriel’s peaks, which soar as high as 10,000 feet.

Interested in nature walking? Get insider tips.

What’s one way The Wilderness Society is working to protect the San Gabriel Mountains?

At Wilderness, we really want both the San Gabriel Mountain Range and the urban communities along the lower stretch of the San Gabriel River to be designated as a national recreation area.

A San Gabriel Mountains National Recreation Area would give visitors improved services, including:

  • Tourist information
  • Rangers
  • Better sanitation
  • Bilingual signage

These services would help visitors enjoy this great wilderness even more.

We’re also working to preserve the last remaining wild parts of the range with wilderness and wild river protections. If we succeed, we’ll protect roughly 30,000 acres of wilderness and 44 miles of wild and scenic rivers.

Learn more about our work in the San Gabriel Mountains.