Hellman Park Loop (Whittier)
- Location: Whittier. From I-605, take the Beverly Blvd. exit and go east for two miles. Turn left on Greenleaf and drive 0.2 miles to the park entrance.
- Agency: Puente Hills Landfill Habitat Preservation Authority
- Distance: 2.9 miles
- Elevation gain: 700 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: October – June
- USGS topo map: “Whittier”
- Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat; insect repellent
- More information: here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 5
This is a quick loop that is conveniently located for residents of the Puente Hills, north Orange County and Long Beach. On a clear day, expect nice views of the San Gabriels, the ocean and more. If you have the time, it’s easy to make it into a longer hike.
Don’t let the covered reservoir at the beginning of the hike turn you off. You pass by the back side of it and soon find yourself in a canyon, pleasantly isolated from the noise of the nearby city streets. The Hellman Park Trail ascends steeply, making a few switchbacks. You round a corner and have a chance to catch your breath on a level stretch. On clear days, you can see the ocean, downtown L.A., the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Catalina to the south, and the peaks of the San Gabriels poking above the ridge to the north. You may also notice a steep fire break heading up the hill to the right–the continuation of this route.
Another steep climb brings you to the Tank Fire Road. Turn right and head east, passing by the Buddhist temple, with great views of Mt. Baldy and the Ontario/Cucamonga Ridge. You pass by the fire break (just kidding about having to climb it, although you can if you want.) The fire road goes around the back of the hill and soon you arrive at a junction. Head right on the Peppertree Trail, which soon comes to a split. Here, you bear right again, onto the Mariposa Trail. The two trails meet each other again soon, but the descent on the Mariposa has more shade and is arguably more scenic.
The Mariposa Trail winds above the canyon, taking in nice views of the hills above and of the city to the south. When the two trails rejoin, bear right on the Peppertree Trail, and make your descent back down to the reservoir and the parking lot.
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.