This route is the most direct hiking route to Barley Flats. It begins at the Red Box trailhead and is 6 miles round trip with 1,000 feet of gain.
As of July 26, 2008, this trail was in terrible shape, tremendously overgrown, especially with yucca, buckthorn and thistle plants, and washed out in places requiring detours. It is passable with effort but be forewarned!
Barley Flats (5,600+') with its trademark green tank
From the 210 Freeway, exit at Angeles Crest Hwy (SR 2) and go north. At 9.5 miles, you will come to the Clear Creek Information Station and the junction with Angeles Forest Highway. Continue straight on SR 2 about 4.5 miles to the junction with the Mount Wilson Road at the Red Box Ranger Station. This is your trailhead and you will find plenty of parking here.
From the Red Box trailhead, cross the Angeles Crest Highway and go northeast along the highway for about 100 feet. Take the fire road that comes up on the left. Continue about ¾ of a mile to a trail junction. The trail to your left goes to the Strawberry/Lawlor saddle. Take the trail going right which is the Barley Flats Trail, an old roadbed.
Rust colored bush marks start of Barley Flats Trail off of main trail to Strawberry/Lawlor saddle Overgrown Barley Flats Trail
You will gain the Barley Flats ridge with a traverse to the right of the ridge. Once on the ridge, simply aim for the high point although this will involve some ups and downs and some cross-country travel through forest.
Barley Flats' forested ridge
As a Class 1 route, running shoes are perfectly adequate for your feet. However, because of the flora overgrowth along much of this trail and on the Barley Flats ridge, long pants are advised.
One who did not heed advice about long pants on this trail
You will need an Adventure Pass or Golden Eagle Pass to park your vehicle anywhere within the Angeles National Forest, including this trailhead. These passes are currently sold at the trailhead you will use, the Red Box Ranger Station ($5 per day or $30 for a yearly pass). Otherwise, the passes are sold at most sporting good stores.
No permits are required for hiking.
USGS Topos: Chilao Flat 7.5
External LinksAngeles National Forest
Adventure Pass information
California Dept. of Transportation