Lower Marshall Canyon
- Location: La Verne, on the corner of Via De Mansion and Orangewood St. From the L.A. area, take the 210 Freeway to Foothill Blvd. Exit on Foothill, go 0.6 miles and turn left on Wheeler. Go 0.7 miles and turn right on Via de Mansion. Park on the corner of Via de Mansion and Orangewood (parking on Orangewood is by permit only). From the east, take the 210 Freeway to Fruit St. Turn right, go to the end of Fruit St. and turn left on Baseline. Go 0.4 miles on Baseline and turn right on Emerald Ave. Go 0.4 miles and turn left on to Orangewood and drive to the end of the street, at Via de Mansion.
- Agency: Los Angeles County Department of Parks & Recreation
- Distance: 5.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 700 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Best season: October – June
- USGS topo map: “Mt. Baldy”
- More information: Yelp page here; Everytrail report here; trip description here
- Rating: 6
This is an enjoyable hike that’s good to keep in mind for hot summer days, especially if you don’t want to have to drive high into the mountains. Most of the lower portion of Marshall Canyon is shaded, and if there’s water running in the seasonal stream, it makes for a pleasant walk. The route described here can easily be expanded upon by accessing the middle and upper sections of the park.
Start by walking down Orangewood for a short distance. The trail begins on the left. The beginning part of the trail, which follows a drainage ditch, might not seem promising, but soon you enter the canyon itself, where tall oaks provide shade. The only downsides are that you have to keep an eye out for poison oak, and there’s some trash and graffiti, although not as bad as in some other easily accessible natural areas.
A few paths join in from the left and right; these are alternate access points from the residential neighborhoods nearby. Stay straight, and soon the path comes up to a golf course. It follows the edge of the course for a little ways before heading back into the woods.
At 1.6 miles from the start, you reach Golden Hills Road, where a tunnel goes underneath. The trail continues past an abandoned building, and at 2.2 miles, you leave the woods and come to a split. You can extend your hike by heading right, but for this route, head left, climbing steeply for another half mile to reach the Stephens Ranch parking area. Here, you can enjoy a nice view of the L.A. Basin, or perhaps have a picnic at one of the tables before heading back.
Text and photography copyright 2012 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.