Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hike 2012.069 -- Turnbull Canyon and Sumac Trails

Hiked Friday, October 5. As an otherwise hikeless week drew to a close, I finished my regular day job's work week, and figured I had just enough time for a short hike in the Puente Hills Landfill Native Habitat Authority's territory.

The trailhead I took is off of Turnbull Canyon Road. Turnbull Canyon Road is what Beverly Blvd turns into just east of Whittier (the city). The Turnbull Canyon Trail is labled "Rose Hills No. 3 Fire Road" on Google Maps. There's an informational bulletin board/kiosk at the trailhead, but no developed parking spot. You just look for a wide spot adjacent to the road as you approach the trailhead. It's right after the curbing disappears. The trail will be on your left.

As I approached the kiosk, I passed a paper sign that noted this trail was closed from Monday, Oct 1, through 4pm on Friday, October 5. I checked my watch and saw it was 4pm, so bully for me. I'm not sure if the closure was related to the Tehatchapi Renewable Project, or to habitat restoration along this trail.

As implied above, this trail begins as a dirt road wide and dusty. A seasonal creek bottom is on your right, and you parallel that creek for 7/10ths of a mile. Serious habitat restoration is also going on, which has left lots of tree stumps and barren ground where invasive non-native plants had been removed. They also had some barriers hammered in around the creek bed.

On your left, several signs admonish you to stay on the trail and out of the habitat restoration area. The hill was mostly covered with dry annual grasses. They provided a nice contrast to the blue sky and white clouds that stretched above.

Before long, you can look up the canyon. A bit to your left, you can see a water tank in the distance. That was my destination for today.

After about 2/3 of a mile, a side canyon comes in from the left (northwest). At 7/10ths of a mile, the Turnbull Canyon trail crosses the creek and continues, easterly. However, I instead continued straight, along what is the Sumac Trail. The dirt road soon gives way to the remains of a paved road as you climb out of the canyon and towards Rattlesnake Ridge.

As you ascend, there are nice views down into Turnbull Canyon, and over the urban basin to your south.

After 6/10ths of a mile, you reach another fork. To the left is Rattlesnake Ridge, which puts you across a canyon from Rose Hills Cemetery. To the right (the way I went), you turn a corner, then encounter a steep, ridge-running trail that heads towards a rusted and graffitied water tank.

I'd estimate it's about 1/3 of a mile to the watertank, which makes the entire one-way distance between 1.6 and 1.7 miles. Roundtrip distance is thus about 3 1/3 miles.

On the way back down, I explored a short distance along a trail that headed to the northeast. It seemed it might connect to another trail that would provide an alternate, shallower climb to the water tank. However, without going further than I had time, it did not seem to do so.

I took a shot of the Asian pagoda in Rose Hills, which I have photographed in the past, then returned on the path I came. The whole hike took about 90 minutes.

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