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Tepee Trail Hike Guide 2

Hike the Teepee Trail (La Cañada Flintridge)

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Teepee Trail Directions
  • Getting to the Teepee Trail Parking Area
  • Insider Tips and Recommendations for the Hike
Total Distance (?)5.4 miles (8.7 km)
Hike Time2-2:30 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)1,100 feet (335m)
Highest Elevation3,260 feet (994m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Angeles National Forest
Park Phone747-322-6574

The Teepee Trail is a great hike, but probably not for the reason that you think. Yea, the teepee is cool to visit and great to take photos with, but the climb up to the teepee offers some of the best views into the western peaks of Angeles National Forest that you’ll ever see. The hike takes the Mt Lukens Truck Trail up to the teepee, which is uphill, but expertly folded onto the land with switchbacks to make the gradient doable. Overall it’s a fun little hike in the foothills of Angeles National Forest.

Where is the Teepee Trail?

There are a couple of routes to the Teepee, and in this guide I’ll show you the most popular (and easiest) route from Angeles Crest Highway (SR-2), which starts across the road from the Angeles Crest Fire Station. Use this address: USFS Angeles Station 11 – Angeles Crest, 5898 CA-2, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

Teepee Trail Directions 1
If you’re coming up from the south (LA area), look for the small fire station on your left as you drive up SR-2.
Teepee Trail Directions 2
Park in the lot ON THE RIGHT, ACROSS THE STREET FROM THE FIRE STATION.

You do not need a parking pass here. There are no facilities or toilets.

Gear For the Hike

This is not a technical hike, but it is uphill and all exposed.

Lone Peak 5

Altra Lone Peak 5
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.

Latest Price on Women’s ShoeREI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s ShoeREI | Amazon

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Stay Safe Out of Cell Phone Range
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Garmin InReach Mini (REI | Amazon | My Review) fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing.

Gaiagps

Gaia GPS Mapping App
Smartphones are not backcountry instruments, but almost everyone has one today. And they all have GPS onboard. So I recommend getting a good GPS hiking app like Gaia GPS that supports offline maps. Just make sure to put your phone in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. GaiaGPS not only has smartphone and tablet apps, but also an online planning tool. You can drag the GPX hike tracks from my (or any) guides into the online map and they will sync to your phone. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get up a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated September 2021.

My September 2021 Top Gear Picks

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.

Teepee Trail Maps

So there isn’t actually a “Teepee Trail,” you hike up the (dirt and closed to the public) Mt Lukens Truck Trail. While the road might not be a pristine single-track trail, it does offer incredible views of the mountains around every turn, so focus on that.

The hike starts in Angeles National Forest, but then enters land owned by Pasadena, and then private property (more later).

Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Fenix 6 Pro

How are you going to navigate this hike?
To start, you should always have a paper map and compass. And it helps to print this guide out or save it on your phone. I highly recommend a GPS as well. I use the Garmin Fenix 6 Smart GPS watch ( REI | Amazon | My Review) with maps (or the more affordable Garmin Instinct). The GPS smartwatch is nice because it’s rugged, works if your phone dies, and also has a billion other features like sleep tracking, workout recording, etc.

Elevation Profile

Teepee Trail Guide Elevation
It’s pretty much all uphill on this one until you read the top at Bee Flats. Mt Lukens Truck Trail is an engineering marvel and the gradient is tough but never extreme.

3D Map

Teepee Trail Guide 3d Map
Here you can see the folds of switchbacks as you hike up to a high point in the foothills where the teepee is.

Teepee Trail Hike Directions

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Video Directions

Turn by Turn Directions

Teepee Trail Directions 3
Cross the street (carefully) from the parking lot, and head into the fire station driveway.
Teepee Trail Directions 4
Head up the driveway through the fire station compound. The crew here are good about putting up notices for out-of-the-ordinary  trail conditions, so keep your eyes open.
Teepee Trail Directions 5
When you get to the end of the compound, there’s a mileage sign for the Mt Lukens Truck Trail and a gate. Hike around the gate.

There can occasionally be trucks on this road, driving up to service one of the many antennae on the summit of Mt Lukens.

Teepee Trail Directions 6
Now you start the hike in earnest. It’s a dirt road that pleasantly winds up through the foothills.
Teepee Trail Directions 7
Once you climb a few minutes and turn the first switchback, you’ll get views down the front range of Angeles National Forest, from Brown Mountain to Echo Mountain.
Teepee Trail Directions 8
Keep hiking uphill on the dirt road, avoiding any smaller cutoff or use trails.
Teepee Trail Directions 9
As you ascend you’ll start to see some of the higher peaks in the western San Gabriels, including the prominent Strawberry Peak.
Teepee Trail Directions 10
If you look ahead, you’ll be able to spot the trail winding above you.
Teepee Trail Directions 11
The views down and east into the mountains aren’t too shabby either.
Teepee Trail Directions 12
At about 1.5 miles in you’ll read a bench at the overlook.
Teepee Trail Directions 13
Keep hiking uphill from the bench. The trail levels out a bit as you continue to climb.
Teepee Trail Directions 14
At one point you’ll get views south towards downtown LA.
Teepee Trail Directions 15
You’ll also start to see (aging) evidence from the massive 2009 Station Fire, which devastated the western half of Angeles National Forest.
Teepee Trail Directions 16
After about 2.5 miles, look for the left turnoff with the mailbox and head down that road.

After the gate, you are entering private property. The owners of this land built the teepee and allow hikers to RESPECTFULLY visit. Please keep this in mind as you hike here.

Teepee Trail Directions 17
There’s a little downhill dip for the last few minutes of the hike to the teepee. This area is informally known as “Bee Flats” because of the hives ahead.
Teepee Trail Directions 18
Respect this private property.
Teepee Trail Directions 19
Avoid side trails and stay on the main (wide) trail.
Teepee Trail Directions 20
The owners have beehives here.
Teepee Trail Directions 21
The hives are back and to the left. Don’t check them out, don’t go over there, just be respectful and leave them alone.
Teepee Trail Stone Scultpure
When the trail turns left to the teepee, make a quick trip right to visit the stone sculpture.
Teepee Trail Directions 22
And then continue back to the clearing, and here you are, the teepee!

Where’s the canvas on the teepee? When there is fire danger, the owners take the canvas off.

The teepee is private property, build by the landowners. Please be respectful here. Don’t hang on it, mark it, or do anything to it.

Teepee Trail Directions 24
My favorite part of the hike are the views into the San Gabriels, which are great from the teepee area.
Teepee Trail Directions 23
You’ll also get some nice views west to Mt Lukens, the peak with the antennae, and the highest point in the city of LA.

Once you’re done at the teepee, just hike back the way you came.

This guide last updated on August 25, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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