April 14, 2012

Photo Essay: Stough Canyon & Old Youth Campground

It's amazing how few people have ever heard of - much less been to - the Verdugo Mountains.

Hasn't anyone who lives here ever looked at a map?

When people ask me where I like to hike, after I scoff at the suggestion of Runyon, I rattle off some of my favorite trails in the San Gabriel mountains, Griffith Park, the Verdugos -

"Where's that?"

Doesn't anyone who lives here ever go to Burbank or Glendale?

One of the reasons I love the Verdugos so much is that they're full of relics and ruins.

So upon my first visit to Stough Canyon, with only a couple hours left in the day and threatening skies overhead, I hiked only a short distance into the canyon...

...past wildflowers...

...scenic overlooks...

...with a view of the nearby 5 Freeway [Ed: I guess this is actually the 210?]...

...and lots of spring greenery.

I took a diversion for my return path to my car along the Old Youth Campground Loop trail...

...a single-track hiking-only trail...

...through some pretty thick overgrowth...

...with hopes of finding something that someone might have left behind.

There is one foundation left from the Old Youth Campground, a Boy Scout camp built in the mid-20th century, and vandalized after its closure, burning down to few remains... a chimney... another graffitied box looming from the hill above.

You can see why it would have been such a good location for a Boy Scout camp...

...because you're so close, yet so high, on a clear day you can see the whole city below.

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  1. That freeway you've seen is actually the 210. Great photos! It's a nice hike up to the top to watch a sunset.

  2. Also, I realize I must have passed you at some point because I'm pretty sure I was here at the same time and day as you were. I'm a native and had never made my way up this trail before. I'd really love to come back up and check out the youth camp trail. I'm big on ruins.

    Have you checked out the old CCC camp in Glendale near Brand Park? If you're feeling adventurous you should see it, but it requires some trespassing.

    1. Oh the 210! My mistake! I was at Stough on Saturday March 31 and didn't know there would be ruins until I arrived. I tried to find the old boy scout camp near Brand Park (I was intrigued by Tropico Station's blog posts about it) but I went to where I thought they were based on his map and could not find them for the life of me. I am, however, obsessed with Brand Park and the ruins that are there.

    2. Ah, see the cloud cover in your photos reminded me of this weekend when I went, so it seems I missed you by some weeks! And since your post was so close to my visit I figured you were there the same day, but oh well!

      I'm totally into Brand Park, too! There's so much going on in these mountains and so many old haunts I'm revisiting where I used to escape into during my adolescence.

      I think you have to jump some fences and head up an overgrown road to get into the scout camp... I've never done it myself, but if you check out street view in Google maps where Mr. Tropico had listed, I'm sure you can find potential access points.

      Happy Exploring! Keep them photo essays coming! <3