The Bobcat Ridge Trail explores some of the highest terrain in Chino Hills State Park east of San Juan Hill. On cool, clear days, this rigorous hike can be very enjoyable, providing terrific views of the Santa Ana Mountains, San Gabriels and San Bernardinos as well as the suburbs in between.
Begin by heading south on dirt Bane Canyon Road, passing junctions with the Corral and Lower Aliso Trails. You head through a pleasant, sycamore-dotted meadow that usually becomes green following rains. After crossing a footbridge, you reach a junction (0.7 mile) with the Lower Aliso Trail. Turn right, passing the turnoff for Water Canyon, and begin a steady ascent on the Skully Ridge Trail. The views get better and better as you climb to a junction (1.25 miles from the start). Loops of varying distances are possible by heading south on the Skully Ridge Trail and returning on the Lower Aliso Canyon Trail, but this post will follow the Bobcat Ridge Trail (the right fork).
The grade levels out slightly as the Bobcat Ridge Trail makes its way west, taking in an aerial panorama of Water Canyon with the San Gabriel Mountains distant. It starts to bend south, skirting the upper rim of Brush Canyon (east and south) and Wire Canyon (west). You curve around the side of a 1600-foot knoll, enjoying views of Orange County’s coastal plain to the southwest. If visibility is good, you may see Catalina Island.
At 3.1 miles, as the trail starts to descend toward a locked gate outside a residential neighborhood, you reach an unsigned junction with the no-longer-maintained Wire Springs Spur Trail. This is a good turnaround point, although hikers who want to continue can follow the trail downhill another 0.6 mile, descending 250 feet (which of course must be made up on the return) to the trail’s true end point.
Text and photography copyright 2017 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.