How Dangerous Is Angeles Crest Highway?

Located thousands of feet above the Los Angeles basin, the Angles Crest Highway is a beautiful and scenic road that leads to the hiking trails of the Angeles National Forest and various other natural treasures. Today, we will talk about everything you need to know about this road and answer the question of how dangerous is Angeles Crest Highway.

You might be wondering what would be so good to lure you away from LA’s busy tourist attractions and bright city lights. Well, in short, the beautiful views that dangerous yet gorgeous Angeles Crest Highway offers. This road has been a common topic in the news that often was not painted in the best light due to the accidents. For this reason, we will provide some extra info about it. There is a lot to cover, so let us get started.

Is This Road Dangerous?

biker on the road

As CBS Los Angeles reported in the past, there were 1.800 accidents on this highway, out of which 33 were fatal, and all of this happened over the course of five years. Needless to say, this is a very dangerous road that has seen a lot of accidents.

This is a paved two-lane road (one lane of travel in each direction), and it was built between 1929 and 1956. It is definitely one of the prettiest roads in Southern California, but the past has proven that it is very treacherous as many people have lost their lives on it.

The Angeles Crest Highway stretches 62 miles through the San Gabriel Mountains, and all the way through it, you can enjoy beautiful landscapes and sceneries. It is one of the most accessible scenic byways in Southern California – however, it is only the case when it is open.

Why Is Angeles Crest Highway Closed?

The California Department of Transportation decided to shut down a bigger stretch of State Route 2 for three weeks after the U.S. Forest Service closed all California national forests due to high wildfire risk. As we already mentioned, this road has seen a substantial number of fatal accidents throughout the years, alongside massive rock slides, heavy snow drifts, and flooding.

At this point, the highway is closed, so you will have to be patient and wait for it to reopen in order to enjoy the beautiful sceneries it offers.

Why Is Angeles Crest Highway Considered So Dangerous?

scenic drive

As is the case with numerous dangerous roads, Angeles Crest Highway features a fair number of dangerous spots. Apart from being a road full of twists and perilous turns, it is bordered by sheer drops along most of its route, which can be highly problematic if you lack concentration when driving.

One of the more prominent causes of accidents is that car and motorcycle enthusiasts often went to this highway to test their fancy vehicles, and in some situations, the need for speed got the better of them. Whether or not the road reopens at some point, it is essential to drive with extreme caution on it and avoid getting distracted by the environment.

It is safe to say that the weather in this region is harsh and unpredictable, and it often happens that the bright sunny weather suddenly turns to moderate or heavy snow. Even when the road was open, it was normally closed during wintertime from Islip Saddle to Vincent Gap due to avalanche hazards.

Another reason why this road is dangerous is its wildlife. There are many chipmunks and gray squirrels that often cross the road, which can be extremely dangerous for both you and them and make you panic and lose control of your vehicle.

There are also lots of twisting mountain roads, sweeping curves, and switchbacks climbing up to approx 7000 feet. So, if the road reopens and you find yourself on it, we advise that you exercise extreme caution.

Was This Road Safe to Drive at Night?

angeles crest at night

You probably guessed that this road definitely was not safe to drive at night since there were multiple problems even during the daylight. Although the road was open 24/7, there were no streetlights along it, making it an extremely dangerous ride, even for experienced and confident drivers.

Even from the perspective of a tourist that wants to see the beauties of the road, there is no reason to drive there at night as it is very difficult to see the views. You would likely have to park the car and turn off the lights to see anything, but that would create a potential danger for anyone on the road that would not be able to see you.

How Skilled Do You Need to Be to Drive at Angeles Crest Highway?

The Angeles Crest Highways certainly requires you to be an experienced driver, as it can be a pretty scary drive for anyone that is not used to that type of road. Unlike some other highrise pavements, this road has a pretty big speed limit of 55 mph.

It is important to remember that it is just a speed limit and that you can actually go slower and drive at your own pace. Another crucial thing to have in mind is that this road can get pretty scary for drivers that are afraid of heights as the road ascends to the mountain.

A simple and short glance over into the cliffs can induce lots of anxiety for people that have sensitive balance and fear of heights, but there are guard rails on most of the road, and they should help in soothing this anxiety.

You also need to stay focused on the road, which can be difficult for inexperienced drivers that might get lost in enjoying the views. So, even if there is a pretty landscape around you, and trust us, there are so many on this highway, you need to remember that you are operating a vehicle and should not allow yourself to get distracted.

Final Words

Even though Angeles Crest Highway offers a number of beautiful landscapes and views, it is a highly dangerous road that requires drivers to exercise caution. Although it is currently closed, there is still a chance for it to reopen. Until then, you will have to stay patient and wait before you get a chance to explore the natural beauties of this scenic road.