Monday, October 13, 2014
Hikes 2014.051 and 2014.052 -- The Aspen Grove, San Bernardino National Forest
On that day, the leave still had a fair amount of green, and it was before peak. But I figured this weekend would be past peak. If possible, mid-week would have been perfect.
a little over a year ago (sort of what it would have looked like last week, had I a functional battery in my camera), and here's what it looked like on my first visit to the aspen grove.
And, just for comparison, here's what it looks like when the aspen are green. You'll probably find some very comparable pictures from the other posts with the leaves golden.
For future reference, if you visit, I would suggest some time around noon, or maybe a little after. That gives the light more or less behind the main portion of the most easily accessible grove, which gives the great backlighting that makes the golden leaves really pop. Then again, I usually don't get an early enough start to reach the aspen grove much before 10 or 11am at the earliest. How it looks at sunrise, I can only guess. But I did notice that, by the time I left (2 or 2:30pm, the lighting had shifted enough to make some of the most photogenic areas appear just sort of normal.
To get to the trailhead, you take Interstate 10 (the San Bernardino Freeway to Highway CA-38, in Redlands. That's the Orange St. exit. Go straight at the first intersection off the freeway, then turn left at the second light (which is Orange). Take Orange north about four blocks, to Lugonia Avenue (that's still Highway 38, though the signage may not be immediately obvious to you). Stay on this route for nearly the entire rest of your trip.
From the ranger station, it's approximately 24.5 miles on CA-38 before you need to turn.
You'll then pass through Angeles Oaks, drive past Jenks Lake Road East, pass Barton Flats, pass Jenks Road, again, pass the Santa Ana River trailhead, and pass the Wildhorse trailhead.
After crossing the river to the aspen grove, if you head right, there's another, larger aspen grove about 1/2 mile or so that way. You can't as easily become immersed in that grove, however. There's no easy trail that walks among them, and there's a lot of dead and down trees that make navigating that area very tricky.