Sunday, November 8, 2015

Hike 2015.083 -- North Etiwanda Preserve, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Hiked Sunday, November 8. Most recent hike; still many older hikes to blog.

North Etiwanda Preserve as at the north end of Day Creek Blvd. From I-210 (Foothill Freeway), just west of I-15, take the Day Creek Blvd exit and head north approximately 2 1/2 miles.
There's a sweeping turn to the right as you approach the final develop-ment before the trail area.

There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead. There is a pit toilet approximately one mile along the loop trail if you start counterclockwise, or two miles along the way if you go clockwise.
Alternatively, there are restroom facilities at Day Creek Park, two blocks north of I-210. Park at the end of the pavement.

Shortly after the end of the pavement, there are two locked gates, one to the north and one to the west. Those are the two ends of the 3.5 mile loop that traverses the Preserve. Within the preserve are several exhibits that interpret the historically significant remains in the Preserve.

To get to the waterfall, head around the north gate. After a bit more than one mile (distance markers are on the loop at 1/4 mile intervals), you'll reach a multi-directional split. The loop trails would head west. There's a picnic area, a bit to the east. On the other hand, if you go straight, you'll be on the path to the waterfall.
After 1/2 mile or so, there's a water infrastructure object, on your right. If you pass to the right there, there's a short but (soon) very steep trail that drops to the base of a small set of waterfalls. Take care if you choose to descend this trail, taking care to minimize your impact on erosion by stepping on stones rather than dirt, and using tree holds and rock holds to keep from impacting the dirt that retains the rocks and plants.

There's a disappointing but not surprising quantity of graffiti down there.

Return to the main trail. Once there, continue further up-canyon. In another 1/8 of a mile or so, you'll reach the top of a set of waterfalls. There'a narrow canyon that links the two sets of waterfalls, which is pretty impossible from the safely-accessible top or bottom.
I visited in early November, during a period of about five months of above-average rainfall, but that followed a multi-year drought. I'm not sure if what I saw was typical or not, but I get the feeling that, because of the faults and water paths in this area, running water is going to be there far more often than not.
Return back to the main trail.

From what I have seen, it's about 3.5 miles roundtrip if you go from the parking area to the falls and back.
On the way back to the loop, trail, you may observe there was a fork that you passed while heading uphill. The left trail peels off and becomes a more distinct fireroad that soon heads to the west. That path would also take you back to the loop, but via Day Creek Canyon.
If you instead continue back to the main loop trail, you'll still be heading west. In this case, however, there are informational signs and mileage markers along the way. That's the way I went, anyway.
After 3/4 of a mile or so, I reached the chimney and metal frame that represented an historic cabin. After the cabin, the trail soon begins a westward run, until you reach the large detention basin for Day Creek. From there, the trail then heads south.
You'll reach a nice overview with signs that include panoramic photos, labeled with the various sights in each direction.

The trail then heads somewhat to the east, then south, and includes an overlook of what is described as a marsh. This whole area looked relatively well-covered in foliage for the area, which is probably due to a high water table that made this place a target for early water development in San Bernardino County.
After the marsh, it's a bit further south, then a long easterly walk, between a pair of powerline structures that lead you back to you the parking area.

Somewhere between 4.5 and 5 miles total for the hike. Moderate climb on the way to the falls, then largely level, then a descent. The weather on my hiking day was comfortable. This area can obviously get hotter and windier than it was, in which case you'll want to make sure to have lots of water.

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