Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hike 2011.100 -- Schabaram Trail from Grand Avenue

Hiked Saturday, December 31. Ended my second 100-hike year with an easy walk in the Puente Hills.

When I visited my sister over Thanksgiving weekend, I noticed a "Schabarum Trail" marker on Grand Avenue, across the street from where Hillside Road comes in from West Covina.

Unfortunately, there is not actually a single Schabarum Trail; there are multiple spurs, all described by the same name and same signage. There's also a Schabarum Park in Rowland Heights. Several spurs of the Schabarum Trail encircle and intersect with the park there (south of Colima Road, which is south of the Pomona Freeway, or CA-60, and mostly east of Azusa Avenue). I could not find any maps of this section of the trail, so I was uncertain how far I would be able to walk or where this trail might lead me.

All these Schabarums, by the way, are named after a long-time former member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Pete Schabarum.

To get to the trailhead, take the San Bernardino Freeway (I-10), and exit at Grand Avenue. Head south. After about 1 1/2 miles, you'll pass Cameron Avenue, coming in from the west. There's a traffic light there. The next street coming in from the west (no traffic light) is Hillside Drive. There is no parking on Grand, so you'll have to park on Hillside, which is a very steep street. Be sure to set your parking brake and set your wheels properly against the curb (turning your front wheels towards the curb if you're pointing downhill, or away from the curb if you're pointing uphill).

Traffic on Grand moves fast, so you may wish to retreat down to Cameron to cross at the light.

On the east side of Grand, directly opposite Hillside, is a marker for the Schabarum Trail.

I've hiked numerous segments of the Schabarum (previously, the Skyline) Trail, including east from Schabarum Park, to Fullerton Road and Pathfinder Road. I was under the impression that this was as far east as the trail went (it also goes west, to near Rio Hondo College, with numerous access points from the north and south ends of the Puente Hills). If the segment of the Schabarum Trail I walked today somehow links with the other sections, I don't know how or where those trail segments would be.

From Grand Avenue heading east, the Schabarum Trail climbs very quickly up about sixty feet, giving you an immediate overview of your staring point. It then runs briefly level before dropping down the other side, into a pocket of live oak. Within that pocket, someone put some real effort to build a pair of huts, with roofs made of palm fronds.

Homes are on your right as you begin, and are later also on your left. Nonetheless, your path gives you a sense of separation from the city. After a brief walk with fences on your left, your path again begins a brisk climb. Cupulas, patios, pools, and some massive homes are visible all around you.

While still climbing to the south, there's a break in a fence to your right, and a narrow trail cuts down towards the streets. I did not follow that trail, so I don't know how far it goes.

Instead, I went up further, past a tiny fenced-in area that appears to protect nothing but a metal support structure. I suspect it was once a microwave relay station, but now it's just some metal poles.

Climbing higher still, your path approaches but does not summit the tallest point in the area. If you stay on the main dirt road, you eventually work your way about 270 degrees around the apex, losing a bit of altitude as you do so. From the other side, a steep and narrow path takes you to the top. A metal stake and a USGS marker is at the top.

If you continue along the dirt road, it dead ends in about 1/3 of a mile. A fence gate with a sign saying "No Trespassing/Dangerous Conditions" blocks further progress. Another sign on the gate says, "Private Property/Schabarum Trail is to the south." However, I did not see which path the sign was suggesting. There was nothing immediately to the south, so it's possible they intend you to backtrack to the earlier-mentioned hole in a fence, which was 3/4 of a mile or so back. That path is a narrow footpath, however, unlike the one- to two-lane width of most of the trail so far.

I returned towards my car. When I got back to Grand, I headed south, to Cameron. Although the sign at the base of the hill pointed the Schabarum Trail that way, I saw no indications at Cameron of which direction I should go, next. I'm not sure if it just goes along Grand or Cameron, but I definitely saw no trail to follow.

I crossed Grand at Cameron and walked back to my car.

Total walking time was about two hours, with plenty of time for pictures. I'm estimating my mileage at 3.5 - 4.0 miles.

Expansive views in all directions during most of this hike, although it was somewhat hazier today than in some recent days, and the low winter sun creates a lot of glare when looking to the south. Mount San Antonio College dominates the area immediately to the south for most of the latter part of this hike.

Between the ridge top and Mt. SAC, several steep ravines were currently covered with thick, green grasses. Near the bottom, some fall color remained. By their color, I'd assume they're black walnut trees, although they were way too far for me to make that guess with anything more than intuition.

A pair of casual hikers I ran into near the start of the hike said they thought this trail went all the way to near Cal Poly, Pomona. However, they themselves only went about 1/2 mile in.

Not sure if I could see Cal Poly before I reached the end fence. Couldn't even see the 57 freeway, which cuts south just before Cal Poly. The foreground hills got in the way. I did see several other access points, particularly coming in from the north.

The San Gabriel Mountains were obviously in the distance to the north. I could pretty easily make out the white "A" overlooking Azusa, and the observatory domes and antenna of Mt. Wilson and Mt. Harvard. The high peaks around Mt. Baldy appeared pretty much snow-free as seen from this perspective, although I'm sure the actual trails must still cross substantial areas of snow and ice.

To the west, haze made seeing downtown, Santa Catalina, and points west largely impossible.

Saw plenty of squirrels today, presumably gathering walnuts and acorn. Either saw several hawks, or one hawk, repeatedly. Got pretty close to the hawk, although my camera has an issue with focusing on moving objects. Did get to see it do its silent take off thing, which was a reminder of the many times I saw that in Kentucky. Other birds, as well, and one very impressive butterfly.


  1. Congrats on another 100 hike year!!

  2. Thanks! There were more than a few times this year when I was sure I wouldn't make it.

    Next year, I'm officially NOT trying for another 100 hikes. I attend orientation for my new job tomorrow, and start "for real" on Wednesday.

  3. Small world! We hiked the Rowland Heights (Powder Canyon area) stretch of the Shabarum Trail on New Years Day!

  4. Yep, small world. Glad you were able to get out and enjoy the good weather.

    Hiked the western end of the Schabarum/Skyline trail today. Still writing and editing that post.

  5. I just did this hike for the first time and loved it! It was a great experience and was sore the next two days.

  6. I enjoy the Puente Hills area, with so many hiking choices. Glad you had a chance to enjoy part of these hills, too!

  7. i just ran threw there for the 1st time today, you couldnt have described it better, i loved it. i started from coming on the schabarum trail from across the street of grand just 100 yards north of hillside dr. its about 1-1/2 miles to the walnut, ca water tower with stunning scenery like you have shown here if you wanted to add 1-1/2 mile more again to this one

  8. I love this place, I run from the soccer fields by my house in walnut towards buzzard peak daily. Its really invigorating and such a genuine wild space in suberbia, Im glad this trail is part of my town.

    Reposting from 06/14/2013