Whittier Sycamore Canyon

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As seen in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!

In Sycamore Canyon
Red Tailed Hawk in Sycamore Canyon

Whittier Sycamore Canyon

  • Location: Whittier.  From I-605, take the Beverly Blvd. exit, head east for 0.6 miles, and turn left (north) on Workman Mill Road.  The trail head is on the right side of the street in 0.4 miles.  Park by the curb.
  • Agency: Puente Hills Landfill Habitat Preservation Authority
  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 200 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Best season:  Year-round
  • USGS topo map: “El Monte”
  • More information: here
  • Rating: 4

I found this hike because I was stuck in traffic on I-605 and realized I wasn’t going to have enough time to get up to Bear Flat.  Originally peeved at having to readjust my destination, I quickly found myself enjoying this trail.  It’s easy to overlook the Puente Hills as a hiking destination, and to be sure, some of the trails can get hot during the summer, but this short trip–shaded by sycamores and willows–is a perfect getaway from traffic on the 605 freeway.  This description includes the segment from the trailhead to the junction with the Sycamore Switchback Trail.   If the day is cool and you have the time and energy, the Swtichback trail serves as a gateway to some of the area’s other hikes.

The trail into Sycamore Canyon starts as a fire road, and heads east.  You cross a service road and bear left to continue your route.  It is signed in this direction, but not in the other direction–when you return, make sure you take the left fork back to the trailhead.

As you continue, you will see some interesting geology on the left (north) wall of the canyon, and the sloping Puente Hills on the right.  The noise of the 605 freeway fades quickly, and the trees become thicker as you continue.  The area’s wildlife includes a big variety of birds, including red-tailed hawks, doves, bluejays and more.

The junction with the Switchback trail, at a little over a mile,  is in a quiet, shaded clearing that makes a nice spot for a picnic.   For being as close as it is to civilization, this hike is a nice way to get some peace, quiet and fresh air.

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.


2 thoughts on “Whittier Sycamore Canyon

  1. A cougar was spotted on Sunday, August 19, 2012 on the trailhead as it is closest to Rose Hills. The cat went one way & the hiker went the other.

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