Chilao to Devil's Canyon
7 miles round trip.
Elevation change: 1,500 feet
Difficulty: Moderate (downhill)
Topo Maps: Chilao Flat and Waterman Mountain
Devilís Canyon lies within the San Gabriel Wilderness, a rugged area with streams, falls, gorges and forest, varying from the elfin chaparral to open pine and spruce groves. This is a Wilderness area to be preserved in its natural state.
The trail starts at the sign on the east side of Angeles Crest Highway about a hundred yards south of the turnoff to Upper Chilao and the Visitor Center. A National Forest Adventure Pass is required for your vehicle while parked at the trailhead.
This trail heads down through both pine and big cone Douglas fir forest and chaparral. About half way down, you will reach a little side stream, and the rest of the trip will be under alders, maples, sycamore and laurel trees along this tiny stream. When you reach the bottom of Devilís Canyon (3.5 miles), there is a place to camp but, in keeping with the Wilderness character, there are no facilities. A free Campfire Permit is required and may be obtained from any Forest Service office prior to your trip.
If you want more Wilderness experience, you may hike either up or down Devilís Canyon from this point. This is rough but interesting going, with boulder-hopping and some pushing through brush. There is no trail. Unless you are an experienced mountaineer with rock climbing equipment, do not go more than two miles down Devilís Canyon from trail end. The rugged terrain beyond that point is far too dangerous for the average hiker.
Spring and early summer are the best times for this pleasant trip, as the streams sometimes become dry during summer and fall. A note of caution: this trail is all downhill from the start, and all uphill on the return. Unless you are in good condition, donít go too far. It is a tough pull back up again when you are tired and out of shape.