Sierra Pellona Motorway West

Angeles National Forest, California

Elevation Gain4,539ft
Trailhead Elevation2,877ft
Elevation Min/Max2877/4975ft
Elevation Start/End2877/2877ft

Sierra Pellona Motorway West

Sierra Pellona Motorway West is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Palmdale, California. It is within Angeles National Forest. It is 11.4 miles long and begins at 2,877 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 23.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 4,539 feet. This trail connects with the following: Forest Service Route 6n08, Forest Service Route 6n08, 5n18 Fall Canyon Truck Trail and Pacific Crest Trail.

Sierra Pellona Motorway West Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Backcountry Adventures: Southern California (Adler Publishing )
Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson
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"Like most trails within this section of Angeles National Forest, the trail along the ridge tops of the Sierra Pelona offers great views from an easy yet dramatic, winding route. The trail starts and finishes on paved Bouquet Canyon Road, immediately north of Bouquet Lake. The roughly graded dirt road commences by following Martindale Canyon for a short distance, before crossing over a wash and starting to climb along an easy shelf road. The shelf road is easily wide enough for a single vehicle, but it is narrower than others in the region and, at times, passing places are limited. Special Attractions: Trail commences near Bouquet Lake; Views over Bouquet Lake; Optional, more-difficult Rowher Trail accessible at several points. High-clearance vehicles are preferred, but not necessary. This trail is dirt roads, but may have rocks, grades, water crossings, or ruts that make clearance a concern in a normal passenger vehicle. The trail is fairly wide, so that passing is possible at almost any point along the trail. Mud is not a concern under normal weather conditions."
Hiking Southern California (Falcon Guides)
Ron Adkison
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"This rewarding day hike leads to a windswept ridge offering far-ranging vistas stretching from the San Gabriel Mountains to the southern Sierra Nevada. The Sierra Pelona is one of several long hogback ridges lying between the San Gabriel Mountains to the southeast and Interstate 5 to the west. This hike follows the north slopes of the central Sierra Pelona massif, ascending to the crest through chaparral and scattered oaks. The outstanding feature of Sierra Pelona is the superb, 360-degree panorama that unfolds from the summit ridge. The hike is usually open year-round but can be uncomfortable during the heat of summer. Strong Santa Ana winds also buffet this exposed mountain occasionally, especially in autumn."

Sierra Pellona Motorway West Trip Reports

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I took my 2004 Avalanche 4x4 with Z71 pack on this between Christmas and New year and had a blast, I am not experienced in any way though did take a 4x4 class about 12 years ago, with little to no proactice since then.

The first part is easy going, my wife was not a happy camper though as its narrow with some steep drop off's and she is not a fan of heights. The views are stunning though... Once we hot approx 3/4 of the way it started to get a little interesting. There was a decent sized water hazard across the whole trail and with a drop off to the left it made me think twice. I left it in auto 4x4 and kept thinks smooth and steady and made it through with little drama other than sliding a little sideways. The final section down the switchbacks are very narrow and I had to place my wheels with care to tackle the gully's created by the recent rain run off. My wife was also very very quiet for this last section too.

All in all a fun drive and easily doable in a day from LA. You definitely need a high clearance vehicle for the last part though.
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Pretty relaxing trail with beautiful views. I was in a bone stock quad cab Tacoma TRD Off Road and it was a breeze. I was in 2wd for much of the first stretch, but did have the dif locked and a little ground clearance is recommended. The trail ends up intertwining with Rowher, which definitely does get difficult, so be careful to stay on Sierra Pelona unless you're ready for that. I took Rowher in low range down the back end and was fine, but wished I had better clearance and articulation. Rowher gets pretty steep with some difficult bits (technical in stock trucks), so stick to the switch backs on Sierra Pelona unless you're ready for it.
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Nice climb up to the top of the ridge on the forest service road. Beautiful views from the top. When we rode a cold front was moving through and the temperature dropped to 35 degrees because of the the exposed conditions. The single track was great, when you are not dodging motorcycles. This could be a "Tsali" of the west if they would ban motorcycles on the singletrack. The motorcycles have left ruts that all but the longest travel mountain bikes would be able to handle. This is a dumb decision that causes enormous damage to the trail. It will only be a matter of time before the NFS has to close these trails to everyone except hikers.
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Maintain This Trail!!!

We started the hike at 10:30am with the seven dwarves in tow, actually three adults (one a shorty) and seven kids (ages 17-5). It started out great; the hike up to FR-6N06 was beautiful and open with a clear path all the way. But then it took a 180 degree turn. The descent into Martindale Canyon was overgrown and thick. We had to hack our way through the brush and chaparral until we reached a 5 foot drop to the creek bed.

Across the creek was a nice little clearing where we took our first break. I know what you're thinking but when hiking with little ones you need to stop often. After we rested it took us 20 minutes to find what we thought was the trail out of the canyon which turned out to be an animal path so we just kept going up until we reached FR-6N07 on the ridge. All told we went about 1.5 miles and 2 hours out of the way but made it to the ridge. After hiking along FR-6N07 we found the top of the intended trail and decided to follow it down so we could see where we messed up at the creek.

This is where it got real hairy. Broken off trail markers, think brush and a poorly maintained trail had us meandering back and forth until we would pick up pur route and follow it until the next questionable switchback. I think I spent about 30 min of the time crawling under scrub oak and briar thickets; If only I had a Machette and my Fidora I could have played Indiana Jones searching for the dang trail.

Anyway we made it down to the bottom and busted through a heavy wall of brush into our clearing by the creek; safe, now we knew we could get out of there alive. It was about 4:30pm and we were running out of daylight.

We had fun but thick that its time to do some serious maintance on the trail. If you are ever hiking Sierra Pelona and see a bunch of dwarves with shovels and pick axes just start whistling and join the fun.

Sierra Pellona Motorway West Photos

Trail Information

Angeles National Forest
Nearby City
Angeles National Forest
Angeles National Forest, Saugus Ranger District Office
Local Contacts
USGS Sleepy Valley
Local Maps

Trail Log