The steep fire road climb leads up to Strawberry Saddle Trail
/Josephine Saddle. This is the last of the fire road for the ride. Take a right onto the singletrack, and you'll start towards Strawberry Peak on Colby Canyon Trail
. This trail winds around the North side, dropping into Strawberry meadows before climbing back up to the Strawberry / Lawler saddle. Next is a nice downhill to Gabrieleno Trail - Redbox to Switzer, where you'll ride the Gabrielino Trail back down to Switzer's.
The trail was just re-opened after the station fire and has some hike-a-bike sandy uphill sections, but it's looking good overall! Watch out for the poodle-dog bush if you are sensitive.
From the intersection of Angeles Forest Highway and Angles Crest, head on Angeles Forest highway for just a bit and take the first right on Josephine fire road (it is well marked with a sign). This climb is steep and a little loose, you'll gain quite a bit of elevation on the way to the Josephine / Strawberry saddle. Grind it out.
Once at the saddle, take a right on the Strawberry Saddle Trail
and after about 0.5 miles you'll meet up with the Colby Canyon Trail
. The Colby Canyon Trail
starts leading you around the North side of Strawberry Peak. This section is up and down, but stays at roughly the same elevation as it winds around the mountain. You'll drop into Strawberry meadows which still has some nice big pine trees, and descend further to the trail junction. There is a register box here, and you'll want to go to the right onto Strawberry Peak Trail
, which heads back uphill towards the Strawberry/Lawlor Saddle.
The climb to the saddle may be sandy, depending on recent rain. It has already improved noticeably since Summer 2014. Once at the saddle the downhill to redbox is fun.
You'll get to the Angeles Crest Highway, where you need to cross and take the trail that starts from the parking lot on western end. The top section of this is fast and not technical with wide switchbacks. Further on, the rocks gets chunkier and more technical, eventually taking you down to a popular picnic area. From here you climb the road back to your car.