Lower Monroe/Poopout Hill Loop (Big Dalton Canyon)

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View of the San Gabriel Valley from the Poopout Hill Trail

View of the San Gabriel Valley from the Poopout Hill Trail

Oaks on the Lower Monroe Truck Trail

Oaks on the Lower Monroe Truck Trail

Lower Monroe/Poopout Hill Loop (Big Dalton Canyon)

  • Location: Angeles National Forest foothills north of Glendora.  From L.A. and points west, take I-210 to Grand Avenue.  Head north on Grand Avenue for 2.2 miles and turn right on Sierra Madre.  Go 2 miles and turn left on Glendora Mountain Road.  In 0.6 miles, park on the left side of the road in a dirt turnout just past the intersection with Big Dalton Canyon.  From San Bernardino/Riverside, take I-210 to Lone Hill.  Turn right on Lone Hill, go a mile and turn left on Foothill.  Go 0.5 miles and turn right on Valley Center.  Go 0.8 miles and turn left on Sierra Madre.  Make a quick right on Glendora Mountain Road and go 0.6 miles to the parking area.
  • Agency: City of Glendora/Angeles National Forest
  • Distance: 3.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 800 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time:  2 hours
  • Best season: Year-round
  • USGS topo map:  Glendora
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles
  • More information: Park map here; description of the Lower Monroe Truck Trail here; Every Trail report here
  • Rating: 7
0:00 - Start of the hike, Glendora Mountain Road (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)

0:00 – Start of the hike, Glendora Mountain Road (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)

This enjoyable hike combines city streets, single-track trail, fire road and ultimately a very steep descent, providing nice variety and seclusion just a short drive from the busy San Gabriel Valley. It can be done as described here, as a point-to-point with a short shuttle or perhaps as a longer hike, continuing along the Monroe Truck Trail to Summit 2760 and beyond.

0:21 - Beginning of the Lower Monroe Truck Trail (times are approximate)

0:21 – Beginning of the Lower Monroe Truck Trail (times are approximate)

You start with a pleasant, if not terribly interesting, 3/4 of a mile on Glendora Mountain Road. While the shoulder is narrow, car traffic is likely to be light (although you’ll probably see quite a few cyclists.) As the road makes a hairpin turn to the left, cross it and look for the signed Lower Monroe Truck Trail. Truck Trail is somewhat of a misnomer as the route is a single-track. The hike instantly becomes more scenic as you work your way through the wooded canyon.At 1.4 miles, a short spur leads to an abandoned water tank with some graffiti that I will forgive because it doesn’t interfere with the beauty of the hike, and because it displays a certain wit (but because NHLA is a family blog, I cannot report what the graffiti says.)

0:45 - Beginning the ascent from the canyon

0:48 – Beginning the ascent from the canyon

Shortly afterward, you make a sharp right turn and begin your ascent from the canyon. You get nice views of the San Gabriel Valley as you make your way along the west-facing slope. At 3.1 miles, you reach a saddle where the Monroe Truck Trail continues uphill and the signed Mystic Canyon Trail heads downhill. Mystic Canyon is a slightly longer alternative route, descending a mile to Big Dalton Canyon Road, where a half-mile walk will bring you back to the parking area. This route, however, descends on the uber-steep Poopout Hill Trail. Take a few minutes to enjoy the view and make sure your legs are rested before beginning this stretch.

1:30 - Beginning the steep descent of Poopout Hill

1:30 – Beginning the steep descent of Poopout Hill

The Poopout Hill Trail is an unsigned firebreak that branches off to the right, just before the Mystic Canyon sign. You make a short but steep descent, a brief climb and another steep descent before the trail levels out for a little while. The last 0.3 miles, however, drop nearly 500 feet – requiring hiking hiking poles, or perhaps the use of the “fifth limb.” Not helping is the fact that the trail is loose and washed out in spots.After navigating down the grade, you are deposited back at the corner of Glendora Mountain Road and Big Dalton Canyon. Cross the street to return to the parking area.

1:50 - Completing the loop at the bottom of Poopout Hill, Glendora Mountain Road

1:50 – Completing the loop at the bottom of Poopout Hill, Glendora Mountain Road

Text and photography copyright 2013 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities.  By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail.  Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.


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Upper Colby Trail

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View from the top of the Upper Colby Trail

View from the top of the Upper Colby Trail

Steep descent on the Upper Colby Trail

Steep descent on the Upper Colby Trail

Upper Colby Trail

  • Location: San Gabriel Foothills north of Glendora.  From L.A. and Pasadena, take I-210 to Grand Ave North.  Go north on Grand Avenue for 2.2 miles and turn right on Sierra Madre.  Go 2 miles and turn left on Glendora Mountain Road.  In 2.2 miles, park at a small dirt turnout on the left side of the road, just as it makes a hairpin turn to the right.  From the Inland Empire, take the 210 Freeway to Lone Hill Avenue.  Turn right and go a mile to Foothill Blvd.  Turn left and go 0.5 miles to Valley Center.  Turn right and go 0.8 miles to Sierra Madre.  Turn left and make a quick right onto Glendora Mountain Road and go 2.2 miles to the turnout at the side of the road.
  • Agency: City of Glendora/Angeles National Forest
  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,000 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Steepness, terrain, elevation gain)
  • Suggested time: 2 hours
  • Best season: October – May
  • USGS topo map: Glendora
  • Recommended gear: Hiking Poles; sunblock; sun hat
  • More information: Everytrail report here
  • Rating: 7

This little-known trail is short but unsparingly steep, like the nearby Garcia Trail.   While the Garcia Trail switchbacks however, this one climbs straight up the side of a ridge, almost entirely exposed.  There are several stretches where the ground is loose, requiring extra caution. The good news is that for your efforts you are rewarded with nice views of the eastern San Gabriels, an aerial perspective of Glendora Mountain Road and if the air is clear, the L.A. Basin.

0:00 = Beginning of the hike on Glendora Mountain Road

0:00 = Beginning of the hike on Glendora Mountain Road (click thumbnails to see the full sized version)

From the side of Glendora Mountain Road, the trail wastes no time, ascending a steep fire break. After climbing almost 200 feet in just over 0.1 miles, you rejoin the road at a bend (an alternate starting point if you want a shorter hike.) Head left, turning away from the road and passing by an oak from which a swing hangs. Your climb continues, not quite as steeply but still steadily, alternating short spurts of elevation gain with welcome flat stretches.

0:06 - Second meeting with the road (times are approximate)

0:06 – Second meeting with the road (times are approximate)

At one flat stretch, about 0.7 miles up, a tree on the right side of the trail makes a nice place to rest. Remnants of a wooden tree-house can be seen on the ground.

0:07 - Swing on a tree, Upper Colby Trail

0:07 – Swing on a tree, Upper Colby Trail

Continuing, you begin your final ascent–the steepest–and at 1.1 miles, you reach an unnamed summit with a concrete foundation, perhaps a former lookout tower. Here you can sit and enjoy a nice view while resting your legs for the descent (which will probably take almost as long as going up.) This makes a good turnaround point, but you can continue down to Glendora Ridge Road and extend your hike there in either direction.

0:45 - Approaching  the final ascent

0:45 – Approaching the final ascent

Text and photography copyright 2013 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

0:55 - Looking north from the top of the Upper Colby Trail

0:55 – Looking north from the top of the Upper Colby Trail

Big Dalton Canyon Trail

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Crossing the creek in Big Dalton Canyon

Ascending the trail in Big Dalton Canyon

Big Dalton Canyon Trail

  • Location: Big Dalton Canyon park in Glendora.  From L.A. and Pasadena, take I-210 to the Grand Ave. north exit.  Head north on Grand Ave. for 1.9 miles to Sierra Madre.  Take a right on Sierra Madre and go 2 miles to Glendora Mountain Road. Take a left and go 0.6 miles to Big Dalton Canyon Road.  Turn right, go 0.5 miles and park in the dirt turnout on the right side of the road (by the Wren Meacham trailhead). From the Inland Empire and points east, take the Lone Hill exit from I-210 and head north for one mile.  Turn left on Foothill, go 0.5 miles and take a right on Valley Center.  Go 0.8 miles and make a left on Sierra Madre, and immediately make a right on Glendora Mountain Road.  Take Glendora Mountain 0.6 miles and turn right on Big Dalton Canyon.
  • Agency: City of Glendora
  • Distance: 2.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 350 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1.5 hours
  • Best season: Year-round
  • USGS topo map:  Glendora
  • More information: Park map here; Every Trail report here
  • Rating: 6

If the steep trails that run up the side of Big Dalton Canyon, such as the Upper Mystic and Wren Meacham trails, sound like they’re not for you, consider taking this pleasant stroll along the creek.  The Big Dalton Trail runs along the bottom of the canyon, paralleling the road that runs through the park.  However, it’s just far enough away that the sights and sounds of traffic are blocked out.

From the parking lot, cross the road and pick up the Big Dalton Trail.  Head northeast into the canyon, passing by the campground and a couple of bridges that connect with the paved road.  The scenery on the way up includes a pleasantly trickling (for most of the year) creek, tall oaks, and occasional views higher into the canyon, where the walls ascend steeply on both sides.

Following the second bridge, the terrain becomes a little trickier (although never too difficult).  The trail is not always obvious, but just keep in mind that it never strays too far from either the road or the stream (which it crosses a couple of times.)

At 1.1 miles from the start, the trail ends at the paved service road.  This concludes the most scenic part of the trip, but those who want to can continue another quarter mile up the road, before a large metal gate unceremoniously stops further progress.  On the return trip, you can either retrace your steps on the trail or follow the paved road back to the campground.  You can also easily extend your hike by visiting some of the other trails in the park, such as the Coulter Pine Loop or the Wren Meacham Trail.

Text and photography copyright 2012 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities.  By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail.  Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Coulter Pine Loop (Big Dalton Canyon)

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Turkey Vulture in Big Dalton Canyon

On the Coulter Pine Trail

Coulter Pine Loop (Big Dalton Canyon)

  • Location: Big Dalton Canyon park in Glendora.  From L.A. and Pasadena, take I-210 to the Grand Ave. north exit.  Head north on Grand Ave. for 1.9 miles to Sierra Madre.  Take a right on Sierra Madre and go 2 miles to Glendora Mountain Road. Take a left and go 0.6 miles to Big Dalton Canyon Road.  Turn right, go 0.8 miles and park in the dirt turnout on the left side of the road, by the footbridge leading across the canyon to the picnic area.  From the Inland Empire and points east, take the Lone Hill exit from I-210 and head north for one mile.  Turn left on Foothill, go 0.5 miles and take a right on Valley Center.  Go 0.8 miles and make a left on Sierra Madre, and immediately make a right on Glendora Mountain Road.  Take Glendora Mountain 0.6 miles and turn right on Big Dalton Canyon.
  • Agency: City of Glendora
  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 550 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1.25 hours
  • Best season: Year-round
  • USGS topo map:  Glendora
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles
  • More information: Park map here; Every Trail report here
  • Rating: 6

Like the nearby Wren Meacham and Upper Mystic Trails, the Coulter Pine Trail is a short but steep hike up the narrow walls of Big Dalton Canyon.  The loop described here visits some secluded pockets of the canyon and takes in some nice views of Mt. Baldy and the summits on the north side of the gorge.

From the parking area, follow the road up to the beginning of the Coulter Pine trail, which heads off to the right. The trail ascends quickly, switchbacking up the south side of the canyon. There are a few spots that are washed out, and the trail skirts the edge of the cliff a few times, so be careful.

After three quarters of a mile, the trail levels out. It follows the ridge for a while before beginning a steep descent into a wooded area. Soon, you reach an unmarked junction. Cross a seasonal stream and head uphill briefly (the downhill fork, to the left, is the Dunn Trail, which leads back to the road if you want to cut your hike short.)

The Coulter Pine trail continues, soon reaching an unsigned junction with the Keiser Trail. Head downhill to a T-junction, where you head right, pass some maintenance buildings and soon meet up with the paved road.

When you arrive at Big Dalton Canyon Road, head left (downhill) to return to the parking area. You can make the last part of the hike more pleasant by crossing a footbridge and following the Big Dalton Canyon Trail. This trail crosses the creek a total of three times before arriving back at the parking area.

Text and photography copyright 2011 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities.  By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail.  Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Wren Meacham Trail

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Mt. Baldy at dusk from the Wren Meacham Trail

Descending the Wren Meacham Trail

Descending the Wren Meacham Trail

Text and photography copyright 2011 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Wren Meacham Trail

  • Location: Big Dalton Canyon park in Glendora.  From L.A. and Pasadena, take I-210 to the Grand Ave. north exit.  Head north on Grand Ave. for 1.9 miles to Sierra Madre.  Take a right on Sierra Madre and go 2 miles to Glendora Mountain Road. Take a left and go 0.6 miles to Big Dalton Canyon Road.  Turn right, go 0.5 miles and park in the dirt turnout by the Wren Meacham trail and pick up the Mystic Canyon Trail across the street.  From the Inland Empire and points east, take the Lone Hill exit from I-210 and head north for one mile.  Turn left on Foothill, go 0.5 miles and take a right on Valley Center.  Go 0.8 miles and make a left on Sierra Madre, and immediately make a right on Glendora Mountain Road.  Take Glendora Mountain 0.6 miles and turn right on Big Dalton Canyon.
  • Agency: City of Glendora
  • Distance: 2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 850 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Best season: Year-round
  • USGS topo map:  Glendora
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles
  • More information: here;  park map here
  • Rating: 5

This short, but challenging hike starts across the street from the Upper Mystic Canyon Trail in Glendora’s Big Dalton Canyon Park.  About the same distance as its neighbor, it packs in even more elevation gain, with a big ascent and descent in both directions.

From the parking area, follow the signs for the Wren Meacham trail.  The trail does two creek crossings that may be a little tricky if the water is flowing.  After the second, the trail takes a sharp left and almost immediately makes a third crossing.  (Remember this turn on the way back, it’s easy to miss).

Now, the work begins.  After the third creek crossing, you will see a staircase in front of you.  The trail climbs the stairs and continues a short, but very steep ascent.  You arrive at a ridge where you can see the higher peaks of the San Gabriels on the left (east) and the San Gabriel Valley (and perhaps downtown L.A.) on the right.

Soon after, you begin a steep descent through a wooded area, before arriving at the equestrian center.  The terrain can be erosion-prone and tricky to navigate following heavy rains; this is where you will be glad to have your hiking poles.

The trail can also be accessed from the equestrian center’s parking lot, and if you don’t want to repeat the steep ascent and descent, you can convert the hike into a loop.  Do this by heading left and walking along the channel, through the center, and taking a right on Glendora Mountain Road, walking a quarter mile and turning right into Big Dalton Canyon Park.  In half a mile you will come back  to the parking lot.

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the area, including how the trail got its name, check out this article.

Summit 2760 via Mystic Canyon Trail and Monroe Truck Trail (Big Dalton Canyon)

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Looking north from Summit 2760

Looking north from Summit 2760

View from the Upper Mystic Canyon Trail

View from the Upper Mystic Canyon Trail

Text and photography copyright 2013 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Summit 2760 via Mystic Canyon Trail and Monroe Truck Trail (Big Dalton Canyon)

  • Location: Big Dalton Canyon park in Glendora.  From L.A. and Pasadena, take I-210 to the Grand Ave. north exit.  Head north on Grand Ave. for 1.9 miles to Sierra Madre.  Take a right on Sierra Madre and go 2 miles to Glendora Mountain Road. Take a left and go 0.6 miles to Big Dalton Canyon Road.  Turn right, go 0.5 miles and park in the dirt turnout by the Wren Meacham trail and pick up the Mystic Canyon Trail across the street.  From the Inland Empire and points east, take the Lone Hill exit from I-210 and head north for one mile.  Turn left on Foothill, go 0.5 miles and take a right on Valley Center.  Go 0.8 miles and make a left on Sierra Madre, and immediately make a right on Glendora Mountain Road.  Take Glendora Mountain 0.6 miles and turn right on Big Dalton Canyon.
  • Agency: City of Glendora; Angeles National Forest/San Gabriel River Ranger District
  • Distance: 5.8 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,600 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Elevation gain, steepness, terrain)
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Best season: October  – May
  • USGS topo map:  Glendora
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles; sunblock; sun hat; insect repellent
  • More information: Trip report here; Everytrail report here
  • Rating: 7

From the edge of Glendora, this hike from Big Dalton Canyon Park provides a taste of the Angeles National Forest.  Summit 2760 is a bump along the ridge on the north side of Big Dalton Canyon with nice views of the L.A. area and the high peaks of the eastern San Gabriels.  If the weather is clear, you can see the Palos Verdes Peninsula, downtown Santa Monica and Catalina Island.

From the parking area, cross Big Dalton Canyon Road and begin hiking on the Mystic Trail. The trail enters a grove of trees, staying straight as the Big Dalton Trail heads right. Unfortunately, the trees amount to little more than a tease, as there is not much shade on the hike. The trail leaves the canyon and climbs steeply over loose terrain. Keep in mind that when you are descending this stretch, your legs are likely to be tired, so take extra care.

The Mystic Canyon Trail zigzags its way up the canyon, taking in some nice views, reaching the Lower Monroe Truck Trail after a mile. You will also see the steep Poop-Out Trail, an alternative route, and the lower end of the truck trail leading down to Glendora Mountain Road. After enjoying the view, turn right and continue your ascent on the motorway, which is a defacto single-track trail.

At 1.4 miles, the trail bends around to a north facing slope, offering some pleasant shade. It makes a wide curve to the west, with some good views of the L.A. Basin and makes a few more switchbacks. You will see the bump of Summit 2760 at this point, as well as the more prominent bump of Summit 3397 in the distance.

After rounding the bottom of the bump, at 2.8 miles, look for a spur in back of you heading uphill to Summit 2760. After enjoying the view, you can return by the same route or continue following the trail to Summit 3397, 1.8 miles farther.   The taller summit is used as a bee keeping facility in the spring, and is fenced off, but if you can’t make it all the way to the peak, a saddle just below, with great views of Mt. Baldy, is a good destination.