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Adventures in the Angeles: Brown Mountain Dam, Paul Little, and Owen Parker

Just a couple weeks after Owen’s last trek in the Angeles to Gould Mesa from Angeles Crest Highway, we returned for another adventure. This time, instead of hanging out at the Gould Mesa Trail Camp, Owen and I headed north on the trail to the Paul Little Picnic Site along the Gabrielino Trail.

Just like the last time, we started our late morning trek from Angeles Crest Highway in La Canada and made the descent to Gould Mesa. From there, we followed the sign marking the path to Paul Little. The sign indicated that it was a mile to the picnic site, however, I am not sure how accurate that is. Strava registered it being closer to a mile-and-a-half. The good thing is that the trail was very flat and pretty easy, even for my old boy. There were two pretty bridges to cross over the stream, as well as some ruins that were fun to take pictures on. Owen really liked the actual stream crossings. He splashed in them excitedly and drank out of the stream as I found stepping stones to carefully walk over.

Owen arrives at the picnic site

Eventually we arrived at the picnic area. We first saw the equestrian hitches as we arrived. A bit further up and we found the picnic benches. As we were so close to Brown Mountain Dam, and the afternoon sun left the tables pretty exposed, I decided to hike on. Just a few more minutes of walking, and we arrived at the dam.

Brown Mountain Dam. You can see the USFS inscription at the top of the structure.

Brown Mountain Dam is a U.S. Forest Service dam that was built back in the 1940s as part of the Los Angeles River Watershed Program. While it is said to have negatively impacted the riparian ecosystem of the Arroyo Seco, the dam does provide a nice endpoint for an easy day hike. The water was flowing and while I wouldn’t drink out of it even with treatment, it made a nice splash pond for a very happy retriever.

Owen and I hung out and rested for a while. It was just us and a few friendly mountain bikers on the trail at that point in the afternoon, so we had a pleasant respite with a bit of conversation, some free pets, and plenty of trail snacks for us both. After his second pack of biscuits and a quick walk back to the water for a last bit of splashing, it was time for Owen and me to turn around and head back to the car.

Owen did just fine on the return trip- that is, up until we began the uphill trek from the Gabrielino trail back up to Angeles Crest. Owen plopped a few times, and I had to allow him several rest breaks to store up enough energy to make it up the hill. It took us about 40 minutes to go a mile, but in his defense, it was a warm November day and Owen is getting up there in years. While he does have the spirit of an oversized puppy, it is getting harder for his body to keep up- you and me both, buddy. Still, we did make it back to the car, and after a long draught of water and signing onto Spotify for some sad jams to sit in traffic by, we started toward home.

The Angeles National Forest offers up many fun hikes that are easy day hikes. This portion of the Gabrielino Trail is easily accessible from La Canada and parking on the street or in the small lots does not require an Adventure Pass. Just be considerate of the residents who live in the area. Happy tails!

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