Big Dalton Canyon Trail
- 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 0.5 miles and park in the dirt turnout on the right side of the road (by the Wren Meacham trailhead). 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: 2.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 350 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: Year-round
- USGS topo map: Glendora
- More information: Park map here; Every Trail report here
- Rating: 6
If the steep trails that run up the side of Big Dalton Canyon, such as the Upper Mystic and Wren Meacham trails, sound like they’re not for you, consider taking this pleasant stroll along the creek. The Big Dalton Trail runs along the bottom of the canyon, paralleling the road that runs through the park. However, it’s just far enough away that the sights and sounds of traffic are blocked out.
From the parking lot, cross the road and pick up the Big Dalton Trail. Head northeast into the canyon, passing by the campground and a couple of bridges that connect with the paved road. The scenery on the way up includes a pleasantly trickling (for most of the year) creek, tall oaks, and occasional views higher into the canyon, where the walls ascend steeply on both sides.
Following the second bridge, the terrain becomes a little trickier (although never too difficult). The trail is not always obvious, but just keep in mind that it never strays too far from either the road or the stream (which it crosses a couple of times.)
At 1.1 miles from the start, the trail ends at the paved service road. This concludes the most scenic part of the trip, but those who want to can continue another quarter mile up the road, before a large metal gate unceremoniously stops further progress. On the return trip, you can either retrace your steps on the trail or follow the paved road back to the campground. You can also easily extend your hike by visiting some of the other trails in the park, such as the Coulter Pine Loop or the Wren Meacham Trail.
We did that hike in January 2011. It’s a nice little fitness hike just outside of town, but the closed gate towards trails’ end was a big bummer, especially since the (outdated) Trails.com write-up indicated that we’d be able to hike all the way to the dam.
The gate has been closed as long as I remember (I’m a lifetime resident of the area.) Just walk past it and follow the road to the dam, approx. 1 mi.