The Ken Burton trail is finally re-opened after years of being closed after the station fire devastated the Angeles National Forest in 2009. The Mount Wilson Bicycling Association and CORBA did an amazing job of getting the trail back in shape. It was a monumental task to get the trail restored to some kind of usable form. Countless hours have been put into restoring Ken Burton as well as the Gabrielino trail, which was needed to connect everything back into a loop.
This quote from CORBA shows the scope of what needed to get done: "In reality, the project started long before last fall. In 2013, we scouted the Gabrielino trail north of Paul Little campground, up to Oakwilde campground and the Ken Burton trail. The trail was devastated, with two major slides (think hundreds of cubic yards of earth sliding off the mountain and taking the trail with it). Before we could work on the Ken Burton trail, we had to complete the Gabrielino trail to which it connects, otherwise the two trails would be dead-ends. So our first task was to restore the Gabrielino, up and over the Brown Mountain Dam to Oakwilde/Ken Burton trail."
So yesterday afternoon, we rode out from the JPL trailhead up Brown Mt heading for some golden hour switchbacks. We were not disappointed. The trail is still very loose in places and really needs a bit of moisture and some packing down, but it was in so much better shape than the way I remember it before the burn! The best part of this trail is the sense that you are really out in the backcountry...that and the incredible views you get looking down into the arroyo as you descend through the 22 switchbacks to the canyon floor.