A Friday morning trip high up into the San Gabriel Mountains (5500+) confirmed we are nearing draught conditions again. Crystal Lake was almost non-existent and the surrounding mountains were snow-less. There is an effortless 1.33 mile trail to and around the lake which provides excellent views of the surrounding mountains and forest which has bounced back after the 2002 Curve Fire. The trailhead is 24 miles of winding road from Azusa along rt. 39. Leaving the lake I headed to the Lewis Falls trailhead about five miles back down the mountain about 2 miles before the Rincon ranger station. The trailhead is unmarked but its on a bend with a wide shoulder and one car parking areas just before and after.
The trail to Lewis Falls along Soldier Creek is a very short trail – one mile round trip – but this is no stroll through the woods. The last tenth of a mile is a completely unmaintained scramble and boulder-hop along the creek bed, and takes about as much time to traverse as the first 0.4 miles.