Mill Creek Trail Work – September 23rd and 24th

On September 23rd and 24th, I worked with the Pacific Crest Trail Association to repair sections of trail in Angeles National Forest. This was my first trail work experience, and my first (and definitely not last) time on the Pacific Crest Trail.


I arrived at the entrance to the closed Mt Gleason Road at 7:30am after a short 45 minute drive – some volunteers had driven from Northern California. After some legal paperwork for the forest service, about 14 of us departed Mill Creek Summit and drove 3.7 up Mt Gleason Road and parked where there is a small connecting trail to the PCT.

The bulk of the work I did on Saturday was building a rock retaining wall where a section of trail had washed out. I did not record the exact trail location but it was around mile 421. We started at around 8:30 after carrying our gear and tools out by removing loose dirt where the trail washed out.

Removing loose dirt

Up the tiny canyon that caused the washout, there were plenty of rocks. We loosened them by digging the dirt around each rock, then would roll them down the hill (after making sure whoever was working below was clear).

Rolling a rock down the mountain
Our pile of rocks
Assessing our pile of rocks

Once we had collected enough rocks, we started to assemble the wall. We started with a base layer of large rocks and build up from there.

Placing rocks while building the retaining wall

The wall came together quickly after finding enough rocks. We collected rocks until about 2pm (with a 45 minute break for lunch) and completed the wall at 3pm – almost 5 hours to find rocks, and only an hour to put them into place.

Packing down the new path
The new rock wall and path

After we had finished this wall, we walked on to see what the rest of the group was doing. A second rock wall was being built where there was a smaller washout, but the rocks being used were much bigger.

One of the larger rocks we moved with a dolly

Placing a rock at the second retaining wall

After the rock wall was completed, we took a group picture (I don’t have it yet, but will add if/when I receive it; I also forgot to take a picture of the second completed wall).

After we finished up, some of us hiked back to our cars and some walked the opposite way to where the trail connected to the road. We drove back down to Mill Creek Summit where some of us returned home. About half stayed to camp in the parking lot of the Mill Creek Fire Station.


I took far fewer pictures on Sunday. Most of the day was spent doing tread work, but for the last maybe hour, we built a small rock retaining wall. Here is a time lapse of most of the tread work we completed.

About 2/3 of today’s trail repair on the Pacific Crest Trail

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