Coulter Pine Loop (Big Dalton Canyon)
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.