Walnut Creek Park (Antonovich Trail)
- Location: San Dimas, just off the 57 Freeway. From Orange County and other points south, take the 57 Freeway to the Via Verde exit. Turn right on Via Verde (west) and go 0.2 miles to San Dimas Ave. Turn right and drive a mile. Look for a turnout on the left side of the road, just before it goes under the freeway, and park here. (It’s a double line, so if you want to do it by the book, you have to drive a mile farther and U-turn at the intersection with Puddingstone.) From San Bernardino County, take I-210 to the San Dimas Ave. exit. Turn left on San Dimas Avenue and follow it for 2.7 miles. The parking area will be on the right.
- Agency: Los Angeles County Department of Parks & Recreation
- Distance: 5.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 400 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Best season: Year round
- USGS topo map: “San Dimas”
- Recommended gear: Hiking Poles
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
- More information: Additional trail photos here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 4
Just a few miles from the five-level interchange between the 10, 57 and 71 freeways in San Dimas, residents of the Inland Empire and San Gabriel Valley can make a quick get-away into a cool, wooded canyon.
To be sure, the Antonovich Trail never really escapes the sights or sounds of civilization, and there’s an unfortunate amount of trash and graffiti (why, people? Why?) Nevertheless, it’s a good trail to keep in mind for days when you want to escape the hot Inland Empire heat and don’t feel like driving into the mountains.
From the dirt turnout, the trail switchbacks down a steep slope into the canyon, where it follows the stream. There are a few spots where the stream must be crossed, and it is necessary to follow the banks to find the best place. It should usually be pretty obvious, but take good care when crossing.
In just under a mile, the trail crosses a paved road. Head right and then continue through a dirt lot, picking up the trail on the opposite side. The trail splits, but the two paths soon merge again.
At a second split, you can make the route more challenging and scenic by heading uphill (left). After a hundred feet of ascent, a faint trail continues to the left, but your route heads back down into the canyon. Shortly after, the trails merge and another stream crossing gets you to a campground.
The trail continues on the opposite side, staying right at the next fork, and reaching a shallow but wide stream crossing. In addition to looking down, look up; acorns may fall from the oak trees (as was the case with the author). After, you come to an unusually deep crossing, which is virtually impossible to negotiate without getting at least somewhat wet (so this can make a good turnaround point for those who are dead set on staying dry.) On the opposite side, you cross under a pleasant canopy of oaks before reaching another split. Head left and make an ascent to the trail’s end at Puente Street.
If this sounds like a lot of work for a mid-rated hike, it’s still well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Because the trail doesn’t have much of a destination, it can make for a nice short escape into nature even if it’s not completed.
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.