This a great starting point for a number of hikes in the San Gabriels. We did a ~20 mile run/hike from here up Bear Canyon to Markham Saddle to Valley Forge to Red Box then back to the TH. These are some of the most scenic trails I've been on in the SGs.
Also of note, the gate supposedly closes at 4:30p. We were up there on 12 Oct (a Sunday), but it was still open at 6:30p.
I've done the same route. A little hard to "run" in Bear Canyon, but I love the standing pools in particular. In addition, one of my favorite long routes is from Switzers to Red Box, cross the street to get the trail to Strawberry/Lawlor saddle, continuing on the Strawberry Peak trail to Potrero, then around the north face of Strawberry to Josephine Fire Road, down to Angeles Forest Hwy and then over to the trail from the Clear Creek Information Station back down into Switzers. It's about a 15-mile loop.
See you on a running trail some time!
Thanks for the tip, Augie. I would like to check out the other side of the road. Interestingly, Bear Canyon was one of the sections we did run, probably because it was early in our trek and dry this time of year.