Route 39 / San Gabriel Canyon Road
View San Gabriel Canyon Rd – Hwy 39 in a larger map
Often incorrectly referred to as ‘the Azusa Canyons’ by the great unwashed masses, R39 is a fast road north of Azusa, connecting the city with the various branches of the San Gabriel River, and the Crystal Lake Recreation Area in the North. It connected to Angeles Crest Highway, but the northernmost section of the road has been closed since 1969. It is passable by foot or bike, as major sections are completely washed out down the west side of Mount Islip into the canyon below. It would be wonderful to see this section reopen someday, but it seems like an illogical project, as the slopes are far too loose to support a road.
There are several gates along the road north of West Fork which may be closed depending on conditions. The road was closed after the Curve Fire of September 2002, and only reopened completely to Crystal Lake in April 2011.
This road sees a fair amount of traffic. It is a nice spirited drive, but in the author’s opinion one should use discretion and drive in a more reserved manner on this road. Since it sees much traffic, the tarmac is in good nick and rockfall is quickly cleaned off the road.