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Charlton Flat to Vetter Mountain

Follow Angeles Crest Highway for 23 miles from its beginning at the 210 Freeway in La Canada to Charlton Flat. Turn onto Charlton Flat picnic area road and go right at the junction a short distance from the highway. Continue down through Charlton Flat to the area near the Forest Service pumphouse and across from Wolf Tree Nature Trail. A wooden sign on your left indicates the trail to Vetter Mountain. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required to be displayed on your vehicle while it is parked in this area. Cross the gully and follow the trail along a small ravine, crossing the road after 1/2 mile. Continue winding along the ravine to the ridge top, then hike left up the ridge to the fire lookout.

map of trail to Vetter Mountain, San Gabriel National Monument

1.5 miles one way.
Elevation gain: 400 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Topo Map: Chilao Flat

Follow Angeles Crest Highway for 23 miles from its beginning at the 210 Freeway in La Canada to Charlton Flat. Turn onto Charlton Flat picnic area road and go right at the junction a short distance from the highway. Continue down through Charlton Flat to the area near the Forest Service pumphouse and across from Wolf Tree Nature Trail. A wooden sign on your left indicates the trail to Vetter Mountain. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required to be displayed on your vehicle while it is parked in this area. Cross the gully and follow the trail along a small ravine, crossing the road after 1/2 mile. Continue winding along the ravine to the ridge top, then hike left up the ridge to the fire lookout.

In May, 1998, historic Vetter Lookout was reopened. The "Grand Reopening" was well attended, and included speeches, refreshments and a flag raising.

The highlight of the Grand Reopening celebration was when Ramona Merwin - who was the last paid Lookout at Vetter (1955-1980), called the Angeles National Forest Dispatcher to report that Vetter was "Back in service"! Ramona is shown here with her daughter Joyce, grandaughter Julie, and great grandson Jiggs.

The Lookout is now open most weekends during fire season (and occasionally during the week). The helpful volunteer staff will give you a tour of the tower and answer questions about life in a lookout tower.

Along the trail you will see excellent specimens of Ponderosa, Jeffrey and Sugar Pines, along with Western Red Cedar, oaks, Manzanita and some Coulter Pine near the top. In May and June, look for the exotic and strange snowplant, looking like a large, bright red asparagus spear. They are rare, so please do not touch. Leave them for others to see. Keep an eye out for Western Bluebirds, Stellarís Jay (bright blue with crested head) and Woodpeckers, which are just a few of the many birds in the area.

[ Vetter Mountain is located in the San Gabriel Mountains and within the Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles County, California. Elevation 5,911 feet feet. Named by USFS surveyor Don McLain for Victor P. Vetter, a dedicated forest ranger and fire dispatcher. Vetter won the USFS Bissell Medal for outstanding work in forest conservation.]
charlton-vettertrail.html

Tom Chester & Jane Strong -- http://tchester.org/
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