Camp For Free With One Of The Most Incredible Views Of Los Angeles



In May I made the move from Seattle to Los Angeles and it didn’t take long for me to start itching to get outdoors and explore. Unfortunately it took me a couple weeks to settle in and finally make time to get out. I started doing some research on recommended places to camp near LA and Henniger Flats was at the top of almost everyone’s list that I could find online. A short hike, free camping and not far from where I live; sold. Especially for my first camping adventure since making the move to sunny California.

Henniger Flats is located in the San Gabriel Mountains near Altadena, California. Directions on getting there are pretty simple coming from downtown LA. I’m not going to try and give directions not having lived in LA for that long but you can click here to get directions to Henniger Flats from your current location using Google Maps. Here’s a map that can give you a little idea of where Henniger Flats is exactly and where the trail head is.

Trailhead

The trailhead to Henniger Flats is located off N Altadena Drive. It’s not easy to spot but if you’re familiar with the area, you’ll probably have no problem finding it. If you’re heading to Henniger Flats for the night, you’ll have to pay attention to where you park because there’s not a lot of overnight or long-term parking at the trailhead. I personally parked down the street on N Altadena in the neighborhood. Just keep an eye out for parking signs and you’ll probably be ok.

henniger-flats-pasadena-california
Cross the white bridge, and stay to the left and go up.

The trailhead to Henniger Flats is located off N Altadena Drive. It’s not easy to spot but if you’re familiar with the area, you’ll probably have no problem finding it. If you’re heading to Henniger Flats for the night, you’ll have to pay attention to where you park because there’s not a lot of overnight or long-term parking at the trailhead. I personally parked down the street on N Altadena in the neighborhood. Just keep an eye out for parking signs and you’ll probably be ok.

There’s no shade on the way up so it’s important to start your hike early if you intend on camping and have a heavy pack. Also bring an abundance of water. There is a visitor center and museum at Henniger Flats, but there’s no running water. Be prepared! I didn’t run into any wildlife and you probably won’t either since the trail is very popular and there seems to be a lot of foot traffic throughout the day. There are a few signs for rattlesnakes but I didn’t run into any.

The Journey



After your 3 mile journey to the top, you’ve reached Henniger Flats. First thing’s first, you need to find the onsite LACFD Forester that’s on duty to check in. I read that you’ll be given a permit for camping and to use a stove, but I didn’t have to do that when I checked in for whatever reason. There was a cub scout clan doing some work at the campgrounds so I’m sure he was busy and distracted. After or even before you check in, you can check out the visitor center and museum to learn about Henniger Flats and the surrounding areas. It’s pretty neat.

Henniger Flats Museum and Vistors Center. 

Once you get checked in you’ll have to find your camping lot. There are 3 levels of camping at Henniger Flats. There’s a lower level campground near the visitor center and museum. It seemed pretty busy, so I walked to the upper and Fiji campgrounds. The forester actually recommended the Fiji campground area for a quieter environment and great place for setting up hammocks. He was absolutely right and if you’re looking for a quiet place to chillax, Fiji is the way to go.

Most larger camping lots have picnic tables and stoves to cook on. It’s worth noting there are about 15-20 camping lots in the upper and lower campgrounds. Fiji only has 3 camping lots, so you have to get there early to snag one. You can also call the forester ahead of time to get some insight on open camp lots. There’s plenty of shade once you get settled and the campgrounds are very well kept. There was no trash, the trails were well maintained and the views are phenomenal. There’s plenty of trails to check out after you get settled in.

Final Thoughts

Overall I had a great experience camping at Henniger Flats and I will certainly go again. I ended up camping there on July 2nd and the campgrounds did seem a little overpacked but I’m assuming it was for the 4th of July. With the views you get of the city, I’m not surprised at all. I did catch some early fireworks going off and it was a pretty amazing sight. Something to keep in mind next year for the 4th if you decide to check this place out! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me!

Henniger Flats • Mount Wilson Toll Road, Altadena, California 91001 • (626) 794-0675



Joshua Schweigerthttps://ourconstantjourney.com
Drawn to the feeling of adventure and thrill. Seeking for something greater in life through traveling the world and experiencing other cultures. Fortunate enough to have work that allows me to travel and work remotely. I'd love to teach people how to balance a successful work and travel life, while having fun and seeking a more permanent adventure. I was a shark in my past life, I love hiking and being outdoors, and living in the moment. Also a minimalist and wanna be vegan.
Our Constant Journey – Joshua and Darby

Welcome to Our Constant Journey! We are Joshua and Darby, a couple from Seattle with a huge passion for travel and helping others get the best out of their own adventures. You can click here to learn more about us or reach us at the sources below!
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