Ben Overturff Trail (Monrovia Canyon Park)

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On the Ben Overturff Trail
Hills above Monrovia Canyon

Ben Overturff Trail (Monrovia Canyon Park)

  • Location: Foothills north of Monrovia.  From I-210, take the Myrtle Avenue exit and drive north for 1.9 miles.  Take a right on Scenic Drive, and stay straight when Canyon Blvd. merges.  Follow Canyon Blvd. to the entrance of the park.  Parking is $5 per car.
  • Agency:  Monrovia Canyon Park
  • Distance: 7.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 2,000 feet
  • Difficulty Rating:  PG-13 (Elevation gain, steepness, distance)
  • Suggested time: 4 hours
  • Best season: October – May (8am-5pm; closed Tuesday and Wednesday)
  • USGS topo maps: “Azusa”
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles; insect repellent
  • Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
  • More information: trip reports and reviews here; here
  • Rating: 7

If you enjoyed Monrovia Canyon Falls and want more of a challenge, consider undertaking this trip to the ruins of the historic Deer Park Lodge. Recent rains have made the area pleasantly cool, and the sound of the water flowing down the canyon is a nice accompaniment to the hike, but be careful of wet leaves and rocks, particularly as you get higher in the canyon, where the trail tends to cling very closely to the hillside.

The beginning of the hike isn’t particularly inspiring, but once you get on the actual Overturff trail, the scenery is great. You begin by following the paved road up from the parking lot, to the falls and nature center. Take a right on a gated private road leading to the Trask Scout Camp. Go inside the fence and follow the road over a bridge. You pass by the large Sawpit Dam, and after about a mile, bear right on a dirt road.

Soon after, you come to a junction. Head left between two stone columns to get to the Ben Overturff trail. The next two miles are challenging but very scenic. You go in and out of the canyon, through a meadow, and after a mile, make a very steep climb up a stretch known as the “Isthmus.” You’ll probably have to stop and catch your breath, but when you do, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views down into the canyon.

After the climb ends, the trail heads back down into the canyon, passing by Twin Springs. You cross the creek and head left, continuing up another steep stretch to the last intersection, with the Deer Park Trail. Stay straight again and soon you arrive at the ruins of Deer Park Lodge. Ben Overturff and his wife used to run the lodge, which was a popular vacation retreat in the early 20th century. According to an interpretive plaque at the site, the going rate for a weekend’s room and board was twenty-five cents.

There’s not much to see up here, only ruins of the Deer Park Lodge buildings, but it is a nice, shady place to sit and relax, and you get some good views both above and below.

On the way back, for some variety, take a left on the Deer Park trail, which soon leads to the fire road. Take a right and head back down for two miles to the intersection with the Overtruff trail, and retrace your steps on the paved road, down the hill and back to the parking lot.

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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