Worsham Canyon Loop in the Puente Hills
- Location: Puente Hills between Whittier and Hacienda Heights. From I-605, take the Beverly Blvd. exit and go east for 4 miles. The trail head is on the right side of the road (note that along the way, Beverly Blvd. becomes Turnbull Canyon Road.) There is a small dirt parking area by a white metal fence, and a green Habitat Authority sign. From the 60 freeway, take the 7th Ave. exit, go a half a mile south and take a left on Los Robles. Go right on Turnbull Canyon for 0.1 miles, and merge onto Valecito Drive. After 0.8 miles, go right on Las Lomitas, which becomes Turnbull Canyon. The trail head will be on your left at about 3 miles. You can also get to Las Lomitas by taking the Hacienda Blvd. exit on the 60 freeway. Go south on Hacienda for 0.9 miles, take a right on Newton, and in 0.7 miles go left on Las Lomitas.
- Agency: Puente Hills Habitat Preservation Authority
- Distance: 4.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,000 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: October – May
- Dogs: Allowed on leash (exercise caution on warm days; be careful of ticks and rattlesnakes)
- Cell phone reception: Weak at the trail head and in the canyon; good on the higher points
- Water: None
- Restrooms: None
- Camping/backpacking: None
- Recommended gear: sun hat; sun screen
- Recommended guidebook: Day Hiking Los Angeles
- More information: trip descriptions here and here; Everytrail report (clockwise) here
- Rating: 6
Like middle children, the Puente Hills are often overlooked. Indeed, on hot and hazy summer days, they are not an ideal destination, but on cool winter days when the air is clear their strategic location provides some of L.A.’s best views. Although you will have to contend with power lines for much of this route, you will also get to see almost every major mountain range in southern California. If visibility is exceptionally good, sharp-eyed hikers may even pick out the Hollywood sign.
From the parking area, bypass the fence and head uphill on the Elderberry Trail, a steep fire road (listed on Google Maps both as Rose Hills Road and Skyline No. 2 Fire Road). In 0.4 mile, you reach a junction with the Worsham Ridge Trail, another fire road. The loop can be done in either direction but by going counter-clockwise, the bulk of the ascent happens on the pleasant, partially shaded single-track, not the exposed ridge. The Worsham Ridge Trail descends to the west, taking in views that may extend to downtown L.A. and the Santa Monica Bay, before bending around to the south, passing by some homes. Non-native plants, including eucalyptus trees and (following rains) mustard flowers similar to those at Chino Hills State Park, dominate the landscape.
Next is the Worsham Canyon Trail, a single-track which meanders pleasantly uphill for the next 1.6 miles, picking up a modest 400 feet of elevation gain. Though the vegetation doesn’t provide much cover, the folds of the canyon tend to block out most of the sun, so there’s a decent amount of shade. At about 2.7 miles from the start, you reach the top of the canyon and a junction with the Skyline Trail. Turn left and follow it uphill to a knoll called Workman Hill (the high point of the hike, at about 1,300 feet). Despite the power lines, the views of Mt. Baldy and Old Saddleback are impressive. You also may see distant San Bernardino and San Gorgonio if the air is clear.
From this bump on the ridge, head downhill to a junction where the Skyline Trail heads right toward an alternate trail head on Turnbull Canyon Road. From here, it’s all downhill, half a mile back to the Elderberry Trail where you will retrace your steps back to the parking area.
Text and photography copyright 2018 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.