TRIP NOTES – FISH FORK HIKE – August 7-8, 2019
by Jean Hansen
Wednesday, August 7: Sunny & I left home at 2:30 p.m. and drove out to Blue Ridge road and then on down to Lupine campground in the Angeles National Forest. On the way down to Lupine campground, we saw two deer. Sunny got a very good picture of one of them. We camped at Lupine in a beautiful shaded spot. Of all the campgrounds we have stayed at through the years, this one ranks right up there with the most beautiful of them all. This campground is in a deep valley with very tall pine trees and spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The temperature was perfect – about 80 degrees and in fact, we didn’t bring a heavy enough blanket and got a little cold in the camper that night. At happy hour we did have to spray with insect repellent, though.
Thursday, August 8: We hiked from camp at 8:30 a.m. and started up the hill for the Fish Fork falls hike. We did this hike about 30 years ago when we first moved to the high desert and at that time, did the whole hike in about 6 hours, including both upper and lower Fish Fork falls. Also, at that time, the trail was excellent and well used. This time, the trail was woefully degraded and overgrown, the signs were pretty much non-existent and there was buckthorn growing over the trail,which made for very difficult hiking.
I believe that this is due to that area being made the Sheep Mountain wilderness. However, we did manage to follow the trail up to Pine Mountain Ridge and then around and over to the feeder ridge for Fish Fork. At this point, the trail virtually disappeared. We debated turning around at this point, but decided to go ahead and descend into the canyon, hoping to pick up the (remembered from 30 years ago) trail to lower Fish Fork Falls. We struggled down the slope, taking much time to try to locate the “trail” and eventually, did get to the bottom of the canyon, where we encountered upper Fish Fork falls. We then walked a bit further and found the old campground for upper Fish Fork and the old sign. We stopped there to have lunch. After lunch, we had to decide if we wanted to try to go further to reach lower Fish Fork falls, but after some reconnaissance, realized the old trail was gone and further, the whole canyon bottom was now very overgrown and for us, impassable. We just didn’t have time to even try to reach the lower falls, so regretfully, we turned around and retraced our steps. The total hike we did today was 8.5 miles round-trip. We made it back to camp at 5:00p.m. and since I hadn’t packed a second dinner, we decided to go back home that evening. The drive up and out on Blue Ridge was spectacular, as always.