Op-Ed: Feeling the stress of the coronavirus lockdown? Take a hike in the San Gabriels

When I moved to Los Angeles, I was fascinated by how such a sprawling city could rub right up against the vast wilderness that is the San Gabriel Mountains. Most every weekend I wasn’t working as a production assistant on a film set, I went exploring in the Angeles National Forest, my Adventure Pass proudly displayed on my dashboard. But as my California journey expanded over the next two decades, I almost forgot about this gateway to another world right in my backyard.

The coronavirus quarantine changed that. With the trails near my Silver Lake home overrun with Angelenos basking in urban nature, I once again looked north. I dug out my well-worn guide, “Trails of the Angeles: 100 Hikes in the San Gabriels” and started diving deep. The Modern Hiker website also proved essential; its detailed descriptions of trailheads made it easy to find more obscure hiking trails. With work on hold, my morning commute became a cellphone-free drive down an empty canyon road to a five- to seven-mile hike.

Every other day I’ve been escaping to the Angeles Forest to cope with the stress and uncertainty of life during the pandemic — and explore a new trail. This is what I found.

Michelle Faucheux is a commercial and documentary producer. She blogs about owning a U.S. Forest Service cabin in the Eastern Sierra at