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Azusa, California

Little Jimmy Trail Camp

Originally added by Jeremy Boggs

Fantastic opportunities for a small or large group to enjoy the backcountry just outside Los Angeles. A good place to bring beginning backpackers to give them a true outdoor experience. The most delicious spring water in the Angeles National Forest.

Take Hwy 2 out of La Canada north along Angeles Crest Highway. Follow this for quite sometime enjoying the fine views in all directions. After traveling through two consecutive tunnels continue to Islip Saddle parking lot (on left). There will be a vault toilet & a picnic table. Display your Adventure Pass ($5 at ranger station or Big 5 Sporting Goods).

Your trail head is across the highway from the entrance of the parking lot. You will notice a closed highway (Hwy 39) also in this area, the trail is about 100 yards up Hwy 2. There will be a sign marking the Pacific Crest Trail & distance to Little Jimmy Trail Camp. Just a hint over two miles from here. You switch back steeply away from the highway & then skirt a wide open brush area. This is when the trail dips into large pine forests & the mix of grand views & relieving shade are welcome friends. One of the reasons this is a perfect trip for beginning backpackers is the first mile is an uphill grade, never outrageous, but enough to get your legs working. After one mile, the trail crosses over an old dirt road (signed) & everyone will welcome the level & gentle roller coaster trail the last mile to camp requires.

Rounding a bend you will see a brown sign welcoming you to Little Jimmy Trail Camp on your right. Leave the main trail & follow the spur trail into camp. There are several sites in the immediate area with others strew about on the upper slopes. Even some vault toilets if you choose to use. Pick up the trail in the middle of the campground and follow it up hill out of the back of the camp & you will find the best site in the place. Views far reaching into the desert with several tables, a fire ring & plenty of room for friends.

Another fantastic reason to go to Little Jimmy is to drink from Little Jimmy Spring. Walk back to the point where you left the main trail and entered into Little Jimmy Trail Camp. Continue on the trail as if you never gone up into the camp. About two minutes around the bend you will see a signed junction point left to the spring. Walk downhill to an absolutely delightful mountain oasis surrounded by Gooseberries. A metal pipe delivers perfectly cold water. It is your choice to filter this water if you wish. We have & witnessed others drink the water without filtering.

Possible Summit Trips:

Little Jimmy Trail Camp is a great base camp to tackle bigger goals like 8,250ft Mt. Islip. This is most ideal because you have already gone more than half way up to the summit at the present camp. A bigger goal would be Mt. Hawkins at 8,850ft & several more miles from camp. These are other adventures if you choose to research them.

History Tid Bits. Little Jimmy's name is over a hundred years old. Cartoonist for the Hearst papers, Jimmy Swinnerton, frequented the near by Crystal Lake area & would often hike far into the backcountry. In 1909 he painted a trademark character of his on one of the trees & it remained for many years. Since then the name Little Jimmy has stuck to the area.

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Overall rating: 

over 3 years ago

Great Time Snowed In

The original posting for this campsite was very informative and super helpful. We ended up parking at the Islip Saddle parking lot, about 30 yards from where HWY 2 is closed for the winter! We were informed that the majority of the trail was covered in snow and it would be better to take the access road to the campsite, about a 1.5 mile hike on HWY 2 past the closure fence from Islip Saddle. Due to the about 4-5 feet of snow on the road and trails we missed the bright yellow access road gate directing us to Little Jimmy Trail Camp. Once we finally found it, we continued up the trail to the camp (about another 2 miles from HWY 2 and the access road gate) and found that it was completely snowed in. The outhouses, fire pits, and tables were all completely covered in snow, you had to slide down through about a 3 foot opening to use the outhouse. We regrettably decided not to stay the night, but all in all what a beautiful hike. Natural spring was amazing and we drank straight from it without boiling. Highly recommend it, probably head up there with either full snow gear or wait until late spring!

1 Night Little Jimmy Trip

This is a great quick backpacking trip that's close to LA, but feels like you're in the middle of the first! The spring water is the best water I've ever tasted!

Great Overall

It is a fun one night camp and hike with a mini waterfall where you filter your water

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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