The City of Diamond Bar recently expanded its trail system to link the Steep Canyon Loop with Summitridge Park, a move that has been predictably popular with the area’s outdoor enthusiasts. This loop, leaving from the Diamond Bar Center next to Summitridge, provides a conveniently located workout with scenic variety and a surprising amount of solitude, given its proximity to civilization. Hikers who want to burn a few more calories can easily add the Steep Canyon Loop.
Hiking clockwise, as described here, allows one to warm up with a gentle descent into the canyon while saving the highest point for later in the route. Start by the picnic area at the western end of the parking lot and follow the Grandview Trail northwest along a ridge. At 0.2 mile, a spur leads to a vista point where you can see the Puente Hills, the San Jose Hills and if the air is clear, Mt. Wilson and Mt. Lukens. The main trail drops into a canyon shaded by oaks and sycamores. You make a few switchbacks before arriving at a footbridge at the bottom of the canyon (0.4 mile). The tall oaks here are particularly impressive, all but blocking out any sights and sounds of the outside world.
The trail then climbs, making switchbacks up the north slope of the canyon, passing banks of prickly pear cacti. At 0.7 mile, you reach a T-junction. Turn right and continue uphill, passing by a few solitary oaks. A steep, somewhat loose ascent brings you to a junction with the Canyon Route, part of the Steep Canyon Loop, just over a mile from the start. Continue a few yards to the Ridge Route. If you want to add the Steep Canyon Loop to your hiking resume, turn left; to return to the Diamond Bar Center, head right. A short spur leads to a vista (the highest point on the route) with views to the east and south including San Bernardino Peak, San Gorgonio and Old Saddleback.
From the vista point, retrace your steps to the Ridge Route. It makes a steep descent, passes by a few residential homes and the climbs stairs back up to the Diamond Bar Center’s main parking lot (1.4 miles). Follow the dirt path around the lot and complete your loop at the picnic area.
Text and photography copyright 2016 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.