Turnbull Canyon Loop
- Location: Puente Hills between Whittier and Hacienda Heights. From I-605, take the Beverly Blvd. exit and go east for 2.5 miles. Along the way, Beverly Blvd. becomes Turnbull Canyon Road. Look for a turnout on the left side of the road (just past Beverly Hills Drive). There will be a fence and an informational board marking the beginning of the trail.
- Agency: Puente Hills Landfill Habitat Preservation Authority
- Distance: 4.1 miles
- Elevation gain: 700 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: October – June
- Recommended gear: sun hat; hiking poles
- USGS topo map: “Whittier”
- More information: Everytrail report here; trail map here
- Rating: 5
This hike is like a slightly shorter version of the Worsham Canyon Loop across the street, offering wide-ranging views (on clear days) and quiet canyons. It suffers from trash and graffiti in some places, and one of the most scenic stretches is blocked off by a barbed wire fence, but it’s still an enjoyable hike that provides a good workout conveniently located to north Orange County and the San Gabriel Valley. Fall colors can be great here.
From the parking area, head uphill on the wide Turnbull Canyon Trail, a fire road. This route is attractive, with rolling hills on the left and the sycamore and oak-lined canyon on the right. At 0.7 miles, you reach a junction. Turn right (the Sumac Trail, on the left, is your return route). Continue heading up Turnbull Canyon for 0.6 miles to another junction where you’ll turn left.
This next stretch is the steepest ascent on the route. You climb quickly out of the canyon on a fire road, staying left at a junction and arriving at a ridge 1.8 miles from the start. Turn left and follow any of several informal trails heading northwest along the ridge. Here you are rewarded for your efforts with nice views of the San Gabriel Mountains before the fence blocks the view.
Continuing to another junction (2.2 miles), turn left and continue following the ridge. A short spur leads to a knoll with a graffiti-covered water tank but the main route heads west. If visibility is good you may be able to pick out the Hollywood sign in the distance, as well as the downtown LA skyline and the Santa Monica Mountains.
At 2.8 miles, turn left on the Sumac Trail and follow it down a ridge as it drops steeply back into the canyon. Back at the junction, turn right and retrace your steps through Turnbull Canyon back to your car.
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.