Like Torrance’s Madrona Marsh and Irvine’s San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, Chino Creek Wetlands and Educational Park preserves wetlands in a developed area. The 22-acre park opened in 2004 and has been a hit with locals, providing an attractive alternative to nearby Prado Regional Park (with free parking, too). Unlike Chino Hills State Park, dogs are allowed here and ample shade makes it one of the Inland Empire’s few urban year-round destinations. The park also features many architecturally interesting interpretive displays, including some inside a concrete tube, others mounted to the base of and on top of an observation deck and on metal utility pipes. The displays provide tips and information about water conservation.
A walk around the perimeter of the park is just under a mile, but it’s also a fun place to wander without any specific route. Six interconnected ponds (populated by ducks, egrets and other waterfowl) occupy the southern end of the park, draining under El Prado Road to Chino Creek, a tributary of the Santa Ana River. Native vegetation that has been planted here include black willows, black walnut trees, coast live oaks, purple sage and more. From the observation tower, the San Gabriel Mountains can be seen above the trees. No matter which trails you explore or how long you stay here, this little park’s value as an educational resource and natural outpost in the densely populated Inland Empire will be readily apparent.
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.