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Turkey Vulture in Big Dalton Canyon

On the Coulter Pine Trail

Coulter Pine Loop (Big Dalton Canyon)

  • Location: Big Dalton Canyon park in Glendora.  From L.A. and Pasadena, take I-210 to the Grand Ave. north exit.  Head north on Grand Ave. for 1.9 miles to Sierra Madre.  Take a right on Sierra Madre and go 2 miles to Glendora Mountain Road. Take a left and go 0.6 miles to Big Dalton Canyon Road.  Turn right, go 0.8 miles and park in the dirt turnout on the left side of the road, by the footbridge leading across the canyon to the picnic area.  From the Inland Empire and points east, take the Lone Hill exit from I-210 and head north for one mile.  Turn left on Foothill, go 0.5 miles and take a right on Valley Center.  Go 0.8 miles and make a left on Sierra Madre, and immediately make a right on Glendora Mountain Road.  Take Glendora Mountain 0.6 miles and turn right on Big Dalton Canyon.
  • Agency: City of Glendora
  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 550 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1.25 hours
  • Best season: Year-round
  • USGS topo map:  Glendora
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles
  • More information: Park map here; Every Trail report here
  • Rating: 6

Like the nearby Wren Meacham and Upper Mystic Trails, the Coulter Pine Trail is a short but steep hike up the narrow walls of Big Dalton Canyon.  The loop described here visits some secluded pockets of the canyon and takes in some nice views of Mt. Baldy and the summits on the north side of the gorge.

From the parking area, follow the road up to the beginning of the Coulter Pine trail, which heads off to the right. The trail ascends quickly, switchbacking up the south side of the canyon. There are a few spots that are washed out, and the trail skirts the edge of the cliff a few times, so be careful.

After three quarters of a mile, the trail levels out. It follows the ridge for a while before beginning a steep descent into a wooded area. Soon, you reach an unmarked junction. Cross a seasonal stream and head uphill briefly (the downhill fork, to the left, is the Dunn Trail, which leads back to the road if you want to cut your hike short.)

The Coulter Pine trail continues, soon reaching an unsigned junction with the Keiser Trail. Head downhill to a T-junction, where you head right, pass some maintenance buildings and soon meet up with the paved road.

When you arrive at Big Dalton Canyon Road, head left (downhill) to return to the parking area. You can make the last part of the hike more pleasant by crossing a footbridge and following the Big Dalton Canyon Trail. This trail crosses the creek a total of three times before arriving back at the parking area.

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.

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