Gabrielino Trail: Switzers to Red Box
I needed a shady trail to escape from the heat. Not only did I get shade, it was a wonderful overcast day and this 4.2 mile section of the Gabrieleno Trail between Switzers Picnic Area and Red Box Picnic Area was easy to follow and a pleasure to hike.
Strawberry Peak from the lower Switzers parking lot. I arrived at 6:30 a.m. and lucked out because the gate to the picnic area, usually open at 8 a.m., was open. This saved me a short but very steep climb on a paved road at the end of my hike.
From the far end of the parking lot I took the paved road that broke to the right and picked up the trail after hiking through the picnic area. I passed several of dams like the one shown in photo 3 along the way.
I read a couple of reviews that warned of poison oak, and it is definitely there. However, there’s much more of this poison oak look-a-like, California Blackberry. The thorns on the vines are the giveaway that it’s not PO. Photo 3 – Perfect stone bench
There were many vibrant looking yuccas on the trail, popping up on the hillside like fireworks exploding on the Fourth of July.
Red and Green
Poison oak, a gorgeous shade of red at this time of year, wraps itself around the same plant I saw on my Strawberry Peak hike, the green one with really oily leaves.
Bizarre deformations on these trees look like nailed up shrunken heads.
I reach my turnaround. The trail comes out in the parking lot for the Haramokgna Cultural Center and right across the street is the picnic area. Photo 3 – A template I found on the parking lot pavement. Photo 4 – The red box for which the site is named. Photo 5 – Gabrieleno (Gabrielino as spelled on this sign) Trail continues on for miles. I can’t wait to hike another large chunk of it someday soon.
And now west: the nub-shaped high point on the left is Josephine Peak, and the high point on the right is Strawberry Peak.
A couple of closer shots of Strawberry Peak.
Before I depart, looking back down toward Switzers.