Surprising as it may be for most people, Los Angeles is surrounded by national parks and within a 30min drive you can go off the grid and into nature for an escape from the concrete jungle. My friend Rachel and I headed to Crystal Lake in the San Gabriel mountains on a sunny October weekend to unwind.
Crystal Lake Trading Post has cabins you can rent, which is where we stayed. While they are super cute, they were so musty that I had some major allergy attacks. If you're allergic to dust like me I would make other arrangements. Maybe camp instead? There are a few campgrounds there, as well as a visitor center to help steer you towards some great trails.
Crystal Lake Trading Post also has a quaint little store where you can get snacks, burgers, chicken sandwiches, frito pie, homemade chili and brownies. Basically lots of high carb food for after a long hike, when you feel like you've earned it. We frequented the store while we there to indulge on all the delicious food. Don't expect a restaurant though, this is one of those local joints in the woods where you are the only one stopping in for dinner.
Rachel and I went on some nature walks and hiked to a beautiful waterfall. There are several hikes in this area to choose from. About a mile down from the trading post area is Crystal Lake. Unfortunately the lake itself isn't very impressive, due the major drought southern California has been experiencing over the past many years. Regardless, the San Gabriel mountains are a gorgeous place to explore for hiking and camping enthusiasts. Plan your next trip to leave all the noise in the city and discover all the mountains that surround us Angelinos!