Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hike 2012.019 -- Worsham Canyon, Puente Hills Landfill Native Habitat Authority

Hiked Friday, March 30. Originally hiked this trail way back in May 2010. This was my first trip doing the loop, again.

I started from the same trailhead I used just about 2 weeks prior to this hike. Saw rattlesnakes both previous times on this trail. However, on the day I hiked, the weather was cool (not cold) and the rattlers were somewhere else.

I've decided this is one of my favorite hikes in the Puente Hills. Worsham Canyon has several side pockets and the trail heads north, away from Whittier, for quite some distance. That gives you some separation from the homes, and several spots where no homes are visible. Also, unlike Arroyo Pescadero, you don't need to hike on pavement, and the canyon is open enough to feel, well, open, rather than claustrophobic.

Given the dryness of the year, there were no traces of water seeping through the canyon. I wouldn't be surprised if there was some standing or running water down in the bottom of the canyon, but, otherwise, I'm not sure where the wildlife head for water.

The trail map for this hike is here.

As the map indicates, it's a brisk 4/10ths of a mile and nearly 300 feet of altitude gain to go from Turnbull Canyon Road to the Workman Ridge Trail. You quickly get nice views over Turnbull Canyon. I stopped a few moments after starting to get another "trail" picture of my trusty Saturn.

Unlike my last trip, when I turned left at that trail, this time, I turned right. Doing so had me trending to the southwest as I walked parallel to Turnbull Canyon. The other side of the canyon was mostly covered in brown grasses, with several firebreaks or trails criss-crossing the slope.

It would appear to be about 8/10ths of a mile more before you reach the official Worsham Canyon trail. Once the trail reaches its southernmost point, there are several access points from down in Whittier. One of these days, I'll have to walk those spurs to find the actual Whittier access to this trail.

As you turn to the east, you are not far from backyards, though not as close as on some of the other Puente Hills hikes. Raptors ride the thermals above. Squirrels and rabbits scurry for cover below.

You also get a nice view of Whittier College and its football field. It would be ironic (and unlikely) if their team were called, "The Fighting Quakers."

The nicest part of this trail is as you start traveling up Worsham Canyon. It's a broad canyon, with a lot more greenery on the right side of the canyon than on the left. You pass the remains of old fences in several spots. You also gain back all the altitude you lost on your way south. It's only steep in a few spots, but it can be an issue if inattentive mountain bikers are ripping around blind corners or over blind inclines as you approach. Fortunately, most are pretty conscientious.

The steepest bit of this trail feels to be the last bit, as you climb up to meet the Skyline Trail. Turn right when you hit the Skyline Trail and you can continue about five miles to Schabarum Park. Turn left and you head back towards the Workman Mill trail.

The trail here is a broad dirt road, made broader and smoother as part of the Edison Tehatchapi Project.

Unfortunately, this project has produced some small signs on the western portion of the Workman Ridge trail, indicating that this section is to be closed for roughly the next year. I don't know if they mean, "Closed, 24-hours a day, 7-days a week," or "Closed when we're actively laying transmission cables atop the huge towers we're erecting here."

The former seems extreme, so I assume accessing the trails would be at least intermittently possible. Otherwise, you'd have to turn around just after reaching the Skyline trail, and return the way you came. can hike the Worsham Canyon trail as I have explained, then return the way you came.

If the loop is possible, it's a mere 3.2 miles to do the loop. Add .4 miles each way for the Elderberry section, and that makes it a 4 mile hike, with two significant climbs, for about 1000 feet of gross gain.

Given the dry year, flowers are not as prolific as in past years, but thistle, mustard, and lupine are still common. I took a number of pictures of them, particularly near the end of my hike, with the yellow-shifted light of the setting sun.

A few very large datura flowers bloomed right near the gate at the Elderberry trailhead. I placed my .5 liter water bottle near one for scale, and snapped a picture.

Two additional hikes taken since my Worsham Canyon excursion. I'm falling behind in my blogging!


  1. Thanks for sharing your hikes. Today I had a chance to run/hike Worsham Canyon and it didn't disappoint. Three deer were there to greet me as I entered the trail.

  2. Neat chart you linked to. Let's me see the altitude changes and everything.

    Deer sightings in the Puente Hills are cool because they're so unexpected.