Altadena has long been a hub of activity in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. In the late 19th and early 20th century, it served as the point of embarkation for the Mount Lowe Railway, which ferried nearly 4 million people to the Rubio Pavilion Hotel, Echo Mountain House, Mount Lowe Tavern, and other destination sites in the foothills. Now, people enter the foothills from Altadena mostly on foot, with the main trailheads at Millard Canyon, Lake Avenue and Eaton Canyon.

Altadena includes three major project areas, totaling about 500 acres of private land: the area from El Prieto to West Ravine, which includes Millard Canyon; Chaney Corridor, which includes Chiquita Canyon; and Rubio Canyon. To date AFC has preserved 41 acres of open space in Rubio Canyon, and helped protect another 16.5 acres along Chaney Trail. Two unprotected parcels in Millard Canyon are home to the cabin and grave of Owen Brown, an abolitionist who settled in the canyon after participating in the 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry with his father, John Brown.