Friday, February 18, 2011

Hike 2011.010 -- Colby and Colby-Dalton Trails

Hiked Friday, February 18. Not knowing how long I'd have before the rain would start falling, I picked a relatively nearby and short hike for today.

The trail head for the Colby Trail is at the north end of Loraine Avenue in Glendora. From the 210 freeway, exit on Grand and head north about three miles, to Sierra Madre Avenue. Hang a right. After about a mile, you'll pass Live Oak Avenue. A little bit after Live Oak, Sierra Madre's two lanes turn into one, with the right lane becoming a right turn, only lane at Loraine. Stay in the left lane and make a left at Loraine. After a short block, your one-lane road gets narrower, and there's a line of palm trees in between the north-bound and south-bound lanes. You'll see the trailhead at the end of the road. There's room for about four cars right near the end of Loraine.

Your trail begins as a wide trail that could be driven by a four-wheel drive vehicle. It's also pretty steep as it climbs towards Glendora Mountain Road. But despite your proximity to homes and roads, parts of the trail give you a brief illusion of isolation, as you make your way under a canopy of live oak.

About 1/4 mile up, there's a signed split, with the "Berm Trail" indicated on your right, and an unsigned trail going to the left, between stone walls. Either would lead you to grassy meadows that overlook Glendora and give you expansive, 180 degree views to the south. Even on this overcast day, I could see Downtown LA to the southwest, and the Santa Ana Mountains, to the southeast.

If you instead continue on the Colby Trail, you'll pass a few more signed spurs that give you the option of overseeing the debris and settling basins just east of the trailhead.

Finally, as you rise to within sight of Glendora Mountain Road, you reach your last signed junction. This sign indicates you've got 260 yards to GMR, and that you've gone 2/3 of a mile from the Colby trialhead. It also tells you that if you take the Colby-Dalton trail down, it's just under 1/2 mile to that trailhead.

I went up to GMR, snapped a few pictures, then headed down the Colby-Dalton Trail. This one is also quite steep. It emerges from the forest along side the debris basin for Little Dalton Reservoir. The Colby-Dalton Trail continues to the south from here, passing just west of the dam. As you head over the crest, you can see the dam spillway to your left. Just ahead of that is the USFS fire station, also on your left. You're now walking on asphalt.

Pass the open gate and continue straight and you'll soon reach this lower section of GMR. At the corner of GMR is a small sign, obvious if you're standing right next to it but not obvious if you were driving or even if you were standing on the other side of the road. This sign says "Colby-Dalton Trail, so it appears the official trailhead for this trail is at the corner of GMR and the fire station drive.

I crossed GMR here and passed between the two equestrian rings, where the signed start of the Wren-Meacham trail is located. Because my only other experience on the Wren-Meacham was so miserable, I had no desire to continue this way. I just wanted to know that I could make the link if I ever decided I wanted to.

At this point, I turned around, returned on up the Colby-Dalton trail. Note that, if you were walking the Colby-Dalton Trail from the bottom, I think you'd probably want to park in the equestrian area. You might also choose to park on GMR near the entrance to the fire station, although I'm not sure about parking regulations there. You would then walk (or, if riding a bike, ride) past the fire station, and go through the open but unsigned gate to stay on the Colby-Dalton trail. To continue on the Colby-Dalton, bear to the right as you approach the dam. Walk over the rise, then back down, then, when the well-worn trail splits off from the dirt road, bear to the left there and begin your ascent of the Colby-Dalton trail.

Of course, if you were mountain biking, you might choose to bear left near the dam and ride on the pavement to a point much higher up, then reconnect to the Colby trail when you were much closer to the top. You'd then return return down via the dirt trail of Colby-Dalton.

After I got back up to the Colby-Colby-Dalton junction, I turned back down the Colby trail, then took several detours to explore the spurs that head off of the Colby trail. This was partly out of curiosity and partly to accumulate my minimum three miles to let me call it a hike.

When I got back to my car, I decided to continue my exploration by turning left when I reached Sierra Madre Avenue, then turning right on North Valley Center Avenue (the point where Sierra Madre dead ends). I took North Valley Center south until it dead ends into Compromise Line Road, and made a left there. After a few hundred yards, this ran into Route 66. I made a left at that light, then a quick right on to Lone Hill Avenue. The 210 Freeway was just 1/2 mile or so from there.

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