- Location: Chino Hills State Park. From the 71 Expressway, take exit 7 (Soquel Canyon Parkway/Central Avenue.) Head southwest on Soquel Canyon Parkway (turn right if you’re coming from the north, left if from the south) for a mile. Turn left on Elinvar Drive and go 0.2 miles to the signed entrance of the park, right after Elinvar becomes Sapphire. Park where available, noting posted restrictions.
- Agency: Chino Hills State Park (home page here)
- Distance: 6.1 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,150 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Elevation gain, steepness, terrain, trail condition)
- Suggested time: 3.5 hours
- Best season: November – May
- Recommended gear: sun hat sunblock long pants and sleeves
- Dogs: Not allowed
- Cell phone reception: Fair to weak at trail head and for the first half-mile, none inside the park
- Water: Available at restrooms on Bane Canyon Road one quarter of a mile past the turnoff for the Sidewinder Trail
- Restrooms: Full restrooms on Bane Canyon Road one quarter of a mile past the turnoff for the Sidewinder Trail
- Camping: At Rolling M Ranch
- More information: Trail map here; Yelp page here
- Rating: 6
Updated November 2018
This hike is a mirror image of the Bane Ridge/Pomona/Fenceline loop that starts lower in Bane Canyon. It shares a portion of that route, as well as with the Sidewinder/Upper Aliso loop, but there is enough mileage unique to this one that it is a worthwhile trip even if you’ve done the other two. It is a somewhat odd but nevertheless enjoyable hike, in which somewhat mundane paved roads and fire roads dovetail with steep drops and climbs through remote canyons, with possible bushwhacking. Thanks to Chino Hills State Park’s extensive network of trails, it is possible to do shorter or longer versions of this hike.
Begin by heading up Bane Canyon Road for half a mile, keeping an eye out for both car and bicycle traffic. At the top of the incline, you have your choice of the East Fenceline Trail (left) or the Bane Ridge Trail (right). Going clockwise, as described below, can be advantageous, especially later in the day: by the time you reach the steepest ascent, the sun will likely already be behind the ridge and on the last stretch of the loop, the Bane Ridge Trail, faces west, allowing for some great sunset viewing.
The Fenceline Trail climbs 0.4 mile to a junction. Turn right (the left fork leads to a view point, an optional detour) and follow the trail south. In about a quarter mile, the trail makes a sharp left turn and begins a steep drop off the side of the ridge, losing over 200 feet in the next 0.2 mile. At the bottom, the trail is pleasantly shaded by sycamores. Non-native black mustard grows in abundance here; recent efforts to remove the plant can be seen by the dead stalks covering the trail in the drier months. This lightly traveled section of the trail is also washed out and eroding in some places, so exercise caution.
At about 1.7 miles from the start, the trail makes a right turn and begins climbing out of the canyon to the shoulder of the ridge. You briefly follow the fence (giving the trail its name) that marks the eastern boundary of the park before dropping into another wooded canyon. After negotiating a fallen willow on the canyon floor (2.4 miles) you begin a steep, exposed ascent, almost immediately picking up 100 feet and then gradually climbing to a junction with the Pomona Trail. The Fenceline Trail continues south but this route heads west, uphill. The Pomona Trail makes a short but steep climb, gaining almost 200 feet in just 0.2 mile, before leveling out on the ridge and then dropping to meet Bane Canyon Road (3.9 miles from the start.) A picnic area with benches makes a nice rest spot before tackling the last portion of the hike. (If you are short on time or energy, you can shorten the hike by heading back on Bane Canyon Road or the trail that runs parallel to it).
The Pomona Trail climbs about 200 feet in the next half mile, reaching a saddle and a junction with the Bane Ridge Trail. Bear right and head uphill on the Bane Ridge Trail, negotiating a series of short but steep bumps. You merge with the Sidewinder Trail and head back down to Bane Canyon Road. From here, simply retrace your steps down the hill to the park entrance.
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.