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Mount Wilson Toll Road Officially Reopens

Photo by USMARINE0311 via Flickr
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Since the torrential rains of 2005, the Mount Wilson Toll Road leading up to Henninger Flats and Mount Wilson has been closed. The popular, yet historic, trail has been a favorite for outdoors enthusiasts. The fire road leads into the hills above Pasadena and offers sweeping views across the San Gabriel Valley and beyond towards downtown and Catalina Island. After nearly four years, it officially opened last Friday to hikers and mountain bikers.

"The view of the city from the overlook is truly breathtaking at night," volunteer hike leader Richard Nyerges would write in e-mails to Outdoors Club members when it was open. Unfortunately, using the trail at night or camping will stay off limits until officials with LA County Fire fully repairs vehicle access. That's because rescues and emergencies, if they should occur, are more difficult to manage at night without the road open to emergency vehicles.

"It's going to be dependent on whether or not we can get our heavy equipment operators up there to do some work," explained Kevin Johnson, Assistant Chief of the Forestry Division for LA County Fire, when asked about the completion date. "There's some additional work to do to make it safe for vehicles. It's going to require more than just annual maintenance and they're all tied in fire season right now."

Casey Schneider at Modernhiker notes that "the Old Mount Wilson Toll Road is a fairly steep, 9 mile (one-way) winding route to the Mount Wilson tower farm, observatory, and visitor’s center." To Henninger Flats and back, it's 5.4 miles.