Friday, April 23, 2010

Hike 49: Big Dalton Canyon

Hiked Weds., Apr 21.

Sort of like Joshua Tree (but for a completely different reason), this was another busted hike plan. I am not even sure if I got my three miles in.

Somehow, I got it in my mind that you could walk from the gate at the "end" of Big Dalton Canyon to the dam that holds Big Dalton Reservoir. Turns out you can't.

From the gate, I walked up the pavement. After about 1/2 mile, the pavement splits. I followed the fork that went right. But within another 1/4 mile, I reached a bridge. On the side of the bridge was a sign that said, "No Hikers or Bicyclists Allowed Beyond This Gate." Next to that sign was another sign, indicating the boundary for the Glendora Wilderness Park.

I turned about and tried the fork that split off from this road, heading sharply to the left (as you were going up hill). That road switchbacked repeatedly and climbed quickly upward. I thought perhaps it would provide an alternative route to the dam. Instead, it just ended, at the top of a debris basin. In the debris basin were stacks of boxes that were just what they appeared to be--honeybee hives.

With the weather cool and overcast, the bees were not very active.

The view looking south (away from the bee hives) was pretty impressive.

I walked back to the fire gate. Roundtrip time was about 50 minutes. Since I knew this wasn't three miles, yet, I headed up one of the trails that headed to the south from near the end of the road. The sign said "Pavil Canyon Trail" and "To Keiser Trail."

When I reached where those trails diverged, I continued on the Pavil Canyon Trail. This trail soon became very faint and overgrown. Within another 1/8, the canyon split. Neither side seemed the obvious choice. First, I went up the right canyon. After 100 yards or so, this route became steaper and unclear. Since I was only wearing basketball shoes (At the start of my hiking that day, I only planned to walk the road to the dam and back), I decided continuing was unwise.

Backtracked, and tried the left fork. After about 200 yards, this direction also became steaper and undefined.

In either case, if I really wanted to, I could have continued. However, this was basically bushwacking, which I was not in the mood for. Roundtrip walking time up this leg was about 25 minutes.

Made my way back down to the car, and looked for Glendora City Hall, where I had heard there were trail maps for Glendora's parks. Turns out the trail map was on a rack outside the Public Services building, just to the east of the stately old City Hall building.

The map is nice and colorful, but not to scale and lacking any topographical indicators. In short, it's pretty useless as an actual hiking aid, and nearly useless even in figuring out where I was and how far I actually went. Nonetheless, the "Big Dalton Canyon" Trail is given as 1.0 miles in length. It is not clear where it officially starts. Also, it's drawn as being on the left side and separate from the road, and I didn't see any separate trail when I was on the road, but I'll check again at some future point.

The map also gives a distance of .3 miles for the Pavil Canyon trail, but, again, does not clearly indicate where it officially ends. I'll assume I made it to the end, which would give me .6 miles round trip on that leg.

My guess of three miles is mostly based on my time--I spent about 1 hour and 20 minutes in total walking. Even at a slow pace, that should be three miles.

In looking at the Glendora Parks trail map from the comfort of my home, the longest single trail distance mentioned on the map is 1.5 miles (for the Colby Trail, which appears to start near the end of Loraine Avenue, and for the Glendora Wilderness Trail, which is marked as "Under Construction" on the map. The combination of the Colby and Colby-Dalton Trail is given as 2.0 miles. That means it would be possible to build a hike comprising several of these short segments and walk them as a roundtrip, with total mileages of 3-5 miles or more. However, by looking at the official city trail map, it is difficult to know exactly where one trail starts and another begins.


  1. Thanks for the tip on the free map. I've been by city hall twice on weekends and asked around without any luck. Too bad the map isn't very good. They have an old map (circa 1970s) posted up Big Dalton Trail, behind a building I like to call the "Beware of Rattlesnakes brick building." I'm sure you passed it to get to Pavil Canyon Trail. They have some picnic tables just to the north of it. The map doesn't have topographical indicators as well, but it seems to include all the trails in the Big Dalton Canyon.

  2. Turns out there's also a link to a page with the maps here:

    Could have sworn I looked and failed to find this information on the city web page before.