Scenic drive along Angeles Crest Highway

July 22, 2019

Los Angeles is known as a driving city. While this is not exactly great for traffic congestion or air quality, the fact remains that Los Angeles and its surroundings give people who love driving a lot to live for. There are several excellent drives around the City of Angels, such as Mulholland Drive, Pacific Coast Highway, Palos Verdes Drive and Angeles Crest Highway (a part of which goes by the name Angeles Crest Scenic Byway). As someone who has driven along all of these routes, it is the Angeles Crest Highway whih thrilled me the most and it is the one which this article is going to describe.

If you’re approaching from the city of LA, the drive will start at La Canada Flintridge – north of Glendale and Burbank. It is part of CA state route 2 and is 66 miles long, culminating in CA state route 138 north-east of Wrightwood, as shown in this image taken from Wikipedia.

Pic courtesy: Wikipedia

What makes the drive special, apart from its large distance covered, is a) its altitude, which can exceed 7000 feet, and b) its ample opportunities to go fast. A quick disclaimer before we move on – I am not advocating any form of reckless driving. Always drive safely, follow the rules, and wear your seatbelt. However, if you are looking to pull off some maneuvers like drifting (yes, seriously) and taking a turn in a fast and thrilling way (again, always be careful!), or just want to test the handling and capabilities of a car, this road is the place to be! I have never felt so much joy driving the Angeles Crest Highway as I have on any other road, be it the beautiful ones I mentioned around LA, or others such as the 17-mile drive in Northern California. When traveling eastwards, you will be on the safer side of the road away from the edge. This, combined with a wide runoff area allowing a large turning radius, is a perfect opportunity for drifting.

The altitude and the San Gabriel Mountains make this road a good spot to admire nature, contemplate the scenery (and life), and just enjoy yourself away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles. It is like going on a holiday, except that it can be done in a single day with a single tank of gas. There are no gas stations or rest stops on the route though, so be prepared if you plan to drive it. If you find yourself falling short on supplies, feel free to turn back any time. Another advantage is that the route is usually quite empty, which serves to heighten the sense of meditative beauty.

Driving the Angeles Crest Highway remains one of my most memorable, enjoyable, thrilling and simultaneously tranquil experiences in the 5 years that I have been in LA. I would highly recommend that you drive this route some day. Be sure to drive safe and enjoy yourself.


Published on July 22nd, 2019

Last updated on July 22nd, 2019