Sunset Ridge to Cape of Good Hope, Altadena

Apr 13, 2011

An old cabin on the Sunset Ridge trail

Here’s another one of our favorite hikes in the San Gabriels.

6 miles round-trip; moderately strenuous
Alternates: Dawn Mine & Millard Canyon Falls

For a hike that combines beauty, history, and exercise, walk up Chaney Trail and follow the Sunset Ridge Trail, which hugs the side of steep Millard Canyon. You enjoy views of the dramatic canyon (look for waterfalls), lots of trees and plant life and, in a few spots, great city views. They single-track trail eventually pops out back on Chaney Trail, a wide dirt road, and a short uphill walk leads to the Cape of Good Hope. On your right you’ll see a trail (actually the old railway bed) leading to Echo Mountain.

If you have another hour, walk a little further up Chaney Trail to find the signposted Dawn Mine Trail and take this steep, one-mile route down into the canyon; at the bottom, keep an eagle eye out for two steel beams set into a rock wall—they mark the entrance to the 1895 gold mine. It’s tempting to explore inside, but the timbers are rotting and the mine is not safe. Return the way you came. For yet another alternate, park at Millard Campground and take the easy half milk trail to the 50-foot Millard Falls. Kids love the outing.

Driving Directions: Drive north from Pasadena on Lincoln or Fair Oaks. At Loma Alta, turn right is you’re on Lincoln or left if you’re on Fair Oaks, then go toward the mountains on Chaney Trail. Wind uphill until you see a gate on the right, and park on the side of the road. (You must have the $30 annual National Forest Adventure Pass, available at Sport Chalet or Jay’s Shell in La Cañada, in your car window.) If you want to do the Millard Falls hike instead, stay left on the paved road and drive down to the Millard Campground parking lot.

Hiking Directions: Walk through the gate onto the dirt road. This is a rare case where Trails of the Angeles is wrong. It directs hikers to take the first trail that splits off to the left, but in fact you take the second trail to the left, about another 300 yards ahead. Follow this canyon-side trail; after a mile the trail splits near a fetching old cabin; follow the sign to stay on Sunset Ridge. You’ll emerge on a wide dirt road. Turn left and walk uphill a short distance to the signposted Cape of Good Hope. If you have time and legs, continue up the old railway-bed road a short distance to Dawn Station, then take the trail on the left leading to Dawn Mine. Return via either the Sunset Ridge Trail or Chaney Trail.

1 Response for “Sunset Ridge to Cape of Good Hope, Altadena”

  1. Barbara Ellis says:

    I’m pretty certain the trail is still closed after the Station Fire. The fire road to Cape of Good Hope is open, however . Best to check with the USFS before setting out.



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