Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hike 2012.005 -- Walnut Creek, San Dimas

Hiked Sunday, January 22. Came across this park somewhat accidentally, then tried to find some write-ups of the trail. One of my first hits was an old Los Angeles Times article by John McKinney. He used to have a semi-regular column on hiking in southern California.

A word of warning about trying to follow McKinney's directions to the trailhead: They won't work any more. Where he says "210 Freeway," he probably means the Orange Freeway (CA-57). This segment of freeway was renumbered after the 210 was extended to I-15 and beyond).

In any event, I ignored the directions. Coming from the west, I took I-10 east, exiting at Via Verde. I took Via Verde north, driving a pleasant and winding road through San Dimas, with a lot of white wooden fencing along the road indicating horse trails. At San Dimas, I made a left. Just before crossing under the 57 freeway, I saw the parking area on the left. However, as noted by nobodyhikesinla, the road here has a double-double yellow. You're not supposed to cross a double-double, so continued past a bit, making a right turn then a quick left and U-turn to get heading back in the correct direction.

There's a large trailhead sign here for the Michael D. Antonovich trail. For those who may not know, Antonovich is a long-time Los Angeles County Supervisor (just like Pete Scharbarum, who also has a lot of trail named after him--for some reason, my Supervisor, Gloria Molina, does not, as far as I know, have any trails named after her).

From the trailhead, the trail drops quickly into Walnut Creek Canyon. You've got a nice view to the northwest as you drop.

With the rain the day before I hiked, the water was running, though still as a trickle. All it really did was spur my urge to urinate. That's the power of suggestion.

I stayed on what felt like the "main" trail at each split, crossing the creek numerous times. I'm happy I was wearing my waterproof boots, because staying completely dry would have been impossible.

Twice, I came to large parking areas (gated) where horses could be unloaded (as they had been unloaded where I started--there were at least three horse trailers when I started). I also crossed a paved road, with a "Tzu Chi Buddhist" sign, on my left. Several places along the way, additional trail access points were also passed.

Based on McKinney's description, I'm pretty sure that the second horse circle I encountered is the "lower trailhead" mentioned in his article.

Shortly after passing McKinney's lower trailhead, I started getting hungry and decided it was time to figure on a good turnaround location. After two more crossings, I followed a spur that led me to a paved road. Upon reaching the pavement, I made a left turn, and walked (facing traffic) with the road on my right), up a hill. At the top of the hill was a street sign showing I had been walking on Reeder and that this was the corner of Reeder Ave (300 South) and Puente St (1700 East).

The trail would have continued further west at least a short distance. Since I did not walk that way, however, I can only speculate, but based on other trail reports, it can not go too much further.

The distance between the "upper" and "lower" trailheads was given by McKinney as two miles, so I'm calling it 5 miles for the day (roundtrip of 4 miles between the two trailheads, plus the distance I continued past that trailhead to Puente and Reeder and back, and the circle I walked that's just southeast of the lower trailhead, when I was trying to get back to the upper trailhead).

This trail is wetter and lacks the expansive views of the Schabarum trail. If I had to choose between Supervisor trails, I'd go with the Pete.


  1. I am a window in my 60's and love to hike with my dog. I came upon your blog today and I hope that I will be able to discover some good hiking areas from your posts.


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  3. Hi, Kay!

    Glad you stopped by. I think I coincidentally just posted a comment on your question on Hiker Dan's blog.

    I don't have a dog so I do not routinely check to see if they are permitted on the trails I hike. I do know, however, that most of the trails in the national forests and county parks, and in the Hacienda/Puente Hills, do permit dogs on leashes. They usually aren't permitted on national park trails, however.

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  5. Very Nice blog, I just moved to this Via Verde neighborhood and one of the first places I checked out was this trail. I think it's beautiful considering I came from West Covina which is 99% houses and buildings. Glad you explored this nice trail.

  6. Glad you liked the blog!

    I'm always amazed at how many hiking choices we have in southern California. Can't possibly walk all the trails within a day's drive.

  7. You should check out the Tenaja trail.

  8. I grew up in Covina and knew several local accesses to the Covina side of the Walnut Creek. Today I took my granddaughter and my dog on the walk that starts where Covina Hills Rd. crosses the Walnut Creek wash (sickening how they walled it up). However it is only about 1/4 mile or so walking east along the wash until you reach the real creek. (Too many barking dogs though...might leave mine at home next time as I can't fight 100 lbs of muscle anymore) The creek is quite full now. I was hoping to find pollywogs like we did as kids, but didn't see any yet. There are no trails at this point, but we didn't let that stop us from walking through the creek which got to be waist high at one point, until we reached a bend where we petted some beautiful horses and then turned around for our adventure home. It was fun for all of us as there are some horses and farm animals, and ducks along the way. As children we used to go down to the creek at the end of Puente Ave., but now seems like the path is blocked with houses. The other place we used to go swimming was just south of Masonic Home, near Old Badillo and Reeder. It sounds like that is where the author ended up. I'm looking for other walks we (old lady, big dog and 7 year old child) can do together that are close to Covina.

  9. There is a waterfall if you walk past the overpass into a secret trail near this trail.