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Franko’s Map of the San Gabriel Mountains My first experience in the San Gabriel Mountains came when I was about 5 years old way back in the late 1950’s when Dad moved us to the town of Altadena. My big sister actually graduated high school in the Rose Bowl. At that time, my San Gabriel Mountains experience came out Dad’s interest in ski jumping. As a little boy in the Salt Lake City area, Dad developed what he called Summer Snow, a granular organic substance. We came to the area when Dad built a ski jump up the Road from the town of Mount Baldy, where Olympian ski jumpers, including Dad’s good friend, multi-gold medalist Alf Engan, demonstrated ski jumping right in the middle of the San Gabriel Mountains, right in the middle of the Summer. I would like to know if any old timers in the area remember that Mount Baldy ski jump, or the one that was built in the middle of the horse racing track at the Los Angeles County fairgrounds for ski jumping demonstrations in between horse races. I don’t think there has been as popular an attraction at the Pomona Fairgrounds since. I was young, but I remember Walt Disney, and other famous people coming to watch the ski jumping that my dad set up, originally in Salt Lake City, then at Mount Baldy, and then at the fairgrounds. It was those many visits to Mount Baldy, including going up to the old ski lodge that I remember as my first experiences in the mountains in my life. To this day I love the San Gabriel Mountains.The thing about loving the San Gabriel Mountains and being a map make as I am, is that eventually I had to take on the awesome task of representing the San Gabriel Mountains with a Franko Map. That, as it turns out, is not an easy task. The mountain range is surprisingly majestic and big. It is a huge and wild place, right at the back door to the entirety of Los Angeles, and the whole area that everyone else in the world calls Los Angeles. The question is: How do I map my beloved San Gabriel Mountains in a handy, easy to read way, while preserving their beauty an respect? In so doing, I turned to my experience, particularly with 6 previous editions of Big Bear maps and transferred the technology, colors and Franko style to the task. I researched range from end to end, drew on experience, asked questions and finally, after years of pretty much just thinking about, I did it! Franko’s Map of the San Gabriel Mountains was conceived in 1994, pondered until about 2003, worked on half-heartedly until 2005, then seriously rendered in 2006, and at last published in August, 2007. Al the while, map making technology, graphics arts programs, computers, and the skill of yours truly was improving. Therefore, I like this first edition a lot. As a map maker/artist/engineer-type person, that is very difficult to say. But this is a cool map! I love Franko’s Map of the San Gabriel Mountains. Now you need to get your hands on my San Gabriels map to see what I like about it. First of all, the shaded relief of the mountains is fabulous. You can see how the mountains rise up abruptly from the San Gabriel Valley to the South, and the Southern California High Desert to the north. You can plainly see the San Andreas Rift Zone on side 1, way over near San Bernardino, angling northwest through Wrightwood and along the north edge of the Mountain Range. One can imagine that these mountains are shifting, jerking and even rising as the earthquake fault system struggles over time. The beautiful shaded relief of the mountains shows yo the slopes, canyons and peaks, but just so that you know the technicalities of where you are on the map, there is also topographical data in the form of topo lines every 500’. Fireroads appear as red lines, while singletrack trails are dashed red lines. The map includes the Pacific Crest Trail which traverses clear across the San Gabriel Mountains and beyond. At many intersections, either where one trail meets another of where trails meet trails, elevations are given to provide more vital information for your hiking, mountain biking or off highway vehicle riding. The entirety of the San Gabriel Mountains is presented on a two sided, 14”x21” map in vivid color. The range runs approximately east to west over 50 miles and ranges to about 20 miles wide. This meant that the map layout would have the East San Gabriel Mountains on side one of the map and the West San Gabriel Mountains on side 2.Franko’s Map of the San Gabriel Mountains Side 1: Side 1 starts just beyond Interstate 15 at the edge of San Bernardino at Glen Helen Regional Park, traversing across the Cucamonga Wilderness above Rancho Cucamonga and Upland, across the majestic high poing of the San Gabriels, which is Mount Baldy (Mount San Antonio, or Old Baldy, if you prefer), across the Sheep Mountain Wilderness, which fronts the mountain named for the founder of the Boy Scouts of America, Lord Bad-Powell, past the Crystal Lake Recreation Area, and through the San Gabriel Wilderness. All of the legal trails are shown, and those that are legal and suitable for off highway vehicle use are indicated with a Franko-drawn OHV logo. Franko’s Map of the San Gabriel Mountains side 1 is made especially beautiful because of the natural layout of the high peaks from Cucamonga, Ontario and Bighorn Peaks above Rancho Cucamonga, up through Thunder Mountain and Mount Baldy peak, across Wright Mountain and over to Mount Baden-Powel, and on down to Mount Hawkins and South Mount Hawkins. This ring of peaks is commonly covered in snow during the winter, and the green shaded relief of the mountains gives way to white peaks making this map almost as much a work of art as a map. On the south side of side 1 of Franko’s Map of the San Gabriel Mountains you will find details of the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park and Marshall Canyon County Park. On a recent ride in this area, when I returned down the mountain I was retracing my own mountain bike tracks when I notice bear tracks on the fireroad. In was surprising to me that the tracks walked right over my mountain bike tracks. He had just been there! That is a testament as to how wild this huge mountain range really is, to this day. Just above Marshal Canyon and the Glendora Wilderness Park just further west is the San Dimas Experimental Forest. This wild area is approachable from the Glendora Wilderness Park. San Antonio Canyon is accessible via Mt. Baldy Road, starting from Claremont and the 210 Freeway’s Mountain Avenue offramp. Highway 39, about 10 miles further west exits to lead visitors up the San Gabriel Canyon, with Morris Reservoir, San Gabriel Reservoir, and the huge San Gabriel Canyon. It happens that the main Forest Service Station is at the entrance to San Gabriel Canyon here on Highway 39. This leads up, up up the San Gabriel Canyon to the Crystal Lake Recreation Area. This area does not appear to be virtually adjacent to megalopolis Los Angeles. It is unbelievable that such beauty, great trails, wildlife, pine trees, waterfalls, creeks, incredible hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding can be had so close to L.A. North of Crystal Lake you can see that Highway 2 zigs and zags through the mountains heading toward Wrightwood, beginning clear over in Glendale on the other side of the map. This long, windy road is popular with roadie motorcyclists and young guys who like to feel the G’s as they speed their turbocharged Subaru’s across the San Gabriel Mountains. However, the Forest Service is certain to close this road every rainy season due to snow and rock slides. This is the area where side 1 of Franko’s Map of the San Gabriel Mountains leaves off and side 2 begins. I would suggest you get a map and study it instead of reading all of these words, but if you want to know a bit more about what I’ve put on Franko’s Map of the San Gabriel Mountains, here you go:Franko’s Map of the San Gabriel Mountains Side 2: The western half of Franko’s Map of the San Gabriel Mountains is not as naturally majestic and outright huge as the eastern half, but there are two bonus mountain areas to make up for it. First there is the farthest eastern tip of the Santa Monica Mountains, otherwise known as Griffith Park, with Mt. Hollywood, the L.A. Zoo, the Greek Theater, and the famous Griffith Park Observatory and Planetarium. I might should predict that Griffith Park will one day become a Franko Map for its own sake. Also, the Verdugo Mountains above Glendale and Burbank can be seen dominating that area. Meanwhile, the San Gabriels have plenty left to map west of the San Gabriel Wilderness. Most notably is the trail system above Pasadena, usually called the Mt. Wilson area. The area above my childhood home of Altadena is loaded with trails and fabulous, easy to reach mountain biking for many, many riders. This is one of the most mountain biked areas in the world. And yet the area is so big that it never seems crowded. If it is crowded, everybody has such a mellow, nice attitude that you really are glad to greet them. I love saying “Good Morning!” no matter what time of day. Next time you ride up the Mt. Wilson trail try saying “Good Morning!” enthusiastically, even in the afternoon and see what response you get. If someone says, “How are you?”, just answer with an enthusiastic, “Unbelievable!” At the northern part of this map you can see the Pacific Crest Trail, continuing on its journey across the San Gabriel Mountains. This area is full of off highway vehicle trails, as can be seen by the OHV logos pointing to the legal trails for such use. There are hundreds of OHV trail miles all across the San Gabriel Mountains. It is also noted that there are areas of wilderness, such as the San Gabriel Wilderness, where hikers are allowed in, but no one else, not even mountain bikers ore equestrians. In areas such as the Charlton Chilao Recreation Area, you can see a lot of camp sites – both group camps and family camping areas. Throughout the San Gabriels range you will find camping for you and your family or your scout or other group.The San Gabriel Mountains are a million great outdoors opportunities waiting to happen. When ever you go there tread lightly. Please take out any trash you bring in. There is no one there to clean up your mess! And pleas, please don’t smoke! Every now and then a big swath of these beautiful mountains goes up in smoke. This is incredibly dangerous and it can really damage the homes of a lot of wildlife. Enjoy these mountains and use this map to thoroughly enjoy your San Gabriel Mountain.