Skyline Trail Loop in Puente Hills


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

Mt. Baldy from the Skyline Trail
Mt. Baldy from the Skyline Trail
On the Nature Oaks Trail
On the Nature Oaks Trail

Text and photography copyright 2010 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.

Skyline Trail Loop in Puente Hills

  • Location: Hacienda Heights.  From route 60, take the 7th St. exit and go south for 0.7 miles to its end at Orange Grove.  Park in the lot on the south side of Orange Grove.
  • Agency: Habitat Authority
  • Distance: 4.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,100 feet
  • Suggested time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Elevation gain, steepness)
  • Best season: September – May
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat
  • More information: Trail map here; Hacienda Hills Yelp page here
  • USGS topo map:  El Monte
  • Rating: 4

Can there really be good hiking near a place called the City of Industry?  Well, I’m not promising you Denali National Park, but if you live in Long Beach, north Orange County or the San Gabriel Valley, the Puente Hills are well worth a visit.  Although the range never gets above 1,500 feet in elevation, on clear days you can see San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, the San Gabriels, the ocean and downtown L.A.

The Habitat Authority manages a large area of the Puente Hills, with many different trails.  Even from the 7th St. trailhead there are several possible routes, but this one takes advantage of two hikers-only trails, the Coyote and the Puma.

From the small parking lot at the end of 7th St, make your way up a dirt road for 0.3 miles and take a left on the Coyote Trail.  The trail rises steeply, but levels out after about half a mile, and the sharp ascent gives you nice views quickly.  After 1.2 miles, it meets the Skyline Trail (take a left when the trail becomes a fire break, and immediately head right on a dirt road which will lead to the Skyline Trail.)

This section of the Skyline Trail, with a barbed wire fence on the left, is not the most inspiring part of the hike, but there are nice views to the right of Mt. Baldy and the San Gabriels.  After 0.6 miles, look for the steep Nature Trail branching off to the right, and almost immediately, bear right onto the Puma Trail.

From here, you have nice views of the surrounding suburbs as you descend.  After 0.8 miles, meet up again with the Nature Oak trail and head right.  This is the best part of the hike, when the trail enters a canyon, filled with oaks and sycamores.  It is very easy to forget where you are as you make your way through the dark, quiet canyon.  The trail switchbacks up the east side of the canyon and meets with the fire road that leads back down to the trail head.  Head left on this road and descend 0.8 miles back to Orange Grove Avenue.

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