June 03, 2012

Photo Essay: Fish Canyon & Creek, Less Crowds (Updated for 2021)

[Last updated 5/10/21 9:11 PM PT—All access points to the Fish Creek trail are closed indefinitely in the aftermath of the 2016 San Gabriel Complex Fire]

The first time I visited Fish Creek a couple months ago - one of the eight times it's open this year - I was part of a Meetup group that was 40 people strong and clogged the single track trail, which was already overcrowded by the throngs of hikers who took advantage of the rare public opening.

I felt rushed. I felt claustrophobic. And, partially because I carpooled instead of driving myself, I didn't get to take all the photographs I wanted to take.

So this weekend, I went back, alone, my solo arrival scoffed at by my shuttle van driver, who warned me to be careful and try to make it back by 2:30.

"Don't worry," I said, "I'm not going to do the whole thing."

I'd already seen the creek. I'd already seen the canyon. I'd already seen the waterfall.

But I had not seen nearly enough of the wildflowers...

...which were bustin' out all over even more this time than back in April.

I don't know if it was because of my relatively late arrival (less than an hour before the last shuttle up to the trailhead), or because Fish Creek has already been open a couple of times this year, or because I didn't arrive with 40 other people...

...but for the greater part of my hike, I was mostly alone out there.

I only heard the creek. I didn't hear any chatter.

And when anyone passed me, I was surprised.

And they seemed surprised to see me.

I figured I'd find more people at the waterfall, where hikers cliff-dive and dip and soak and rest, but I had no intention of going that far.

Instead, I only went as far as the poppies, and then I turned around and returned to the shuttle to take me back down to my car.

Related Reading:
Photo Essay: Fish Canyon & Creek, Limited Access

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