Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hiking Monrovia Canyon

This blog is named East West Hike for a reason. I grew up hiking in the East and subsequently moved out West but I still miss the East, especially around now, the Fall. Thankfully for me there are parts of SoCal where you can experience Fall and one of those places is Monrovia Canyon.

It doesn't hurt that Monrovia is also one of the nicest parks I have been to in awhile and I am seriously in love with this place.

There are several hikes you can do here and all of them rock in their own ways but on this day I did 2, the Overtuff Trail and the Falls Trail.

First a word about getting to the park. It is off the 210 and then you turn, turn, turn again (don't worry directions below) and once you get to the park you have an option, you either park before the park save $5 but walk at least a 1/2 mile to the park or you give some money to the park and save on the legs. I'll admit it, I was lazy, I walked and didn't pay the fee but considering how much I love this park, from now on, $5 no problem.


I have been learning a lot about the early history of hiking in SoCal thanks to the great Trails Of The Angeles and did you know that before the 2 winded its way through the mountains, there was a hiking "mania" here in SoCal? People would go hiking in the mountains for days at a time. It was a "thing", it was a "happening".

As part of this history, Ben Overturff built a backcountry lodge which was extremely popular. The lodge subsequently crumbled and the current existing trail was rebuilt but still when you take this trail you imagine hiking the same country as your SoCal forbearers lo those many years ago.

Of course, this doesn't hold true to the first part of the trail which is paved. You pick up the trail when you see the sign for the Boy Scout camp

and then you start heading up. The Overturff trail is up, that is for sure. You gain around 1,700 feet in 3.5 miles so its not joke but it is manageable and there is a LOT of downhill on this trail so you won't blow out the quads making the remains of the Overturff lodge.

As you start to make your way up, be sure to stop and check out this crazy dam in the backcountry.

There is apparently a pretty significant history of flooding in this area and there are earthworks all over the place, lots of dams, mini-damns etc.

This place is also Fall central (at the moment in October, 2012). This tugged at the ol Adirondack heart-strings but the foggy weather and the changing leaves put me right back in an East Coast state of mind.

Don't worry, the pavement only lasts for a mile (watch out though for Boy Scouts in the their cars making their way to camp) and you come to the junction of the Overtuff trail and a fireroad.

Both options will take you to the Overtuff cabin but do yourself a favor and take the Overtuff trail, it rocks.

There is also a lot of history on the trail. There are signs everywhere telling you about what came before you.

The trail make its way through the woods

and then eventually heads up, up, up, with several "lovely" switchbacks along the way.

The only downside to hiking in the fog is the views.

(great vistas eh?). Still the fog lent a beauty to the trail which made the uphill portion at least a little nicer.

After the switchbacks, you go through a nice little glen (with some serious mushrooms)

and then a BIG push up to the Gap and then on down to the Springs. You will see a lot of people at the Springs but not too many others on this trail. The later you start the more you will see but I was impressed at the solitude I had on most of this trail.

The trail eventually curls up to Deer Park and the cabin's ruins.

Now the lodge itself isn't much to look at

but its a good rest point before making your way down. Just a word of warning, there is poison oak on the trail but as long as you stay on the trail, you will be fine. If you start bushwhacking it and leaning up against rocks off the trail, you could be in trouble.

Falls Trail

Another awesome trail at Monrovia Canyon, this trail is much shorter than the Overturff Trail but still has about 400 feet of elevation gain in 1 ish miles but this trail is very manageable for almost every hiker. To reach this trail, head past the Monrovia cabin and look for this trailhead

and follow another Fall-bedecked trail.

There is also great streams

and awesome rock formations you see along the trail as well.

Eventually you make the turn in the trail and come up to the waterfall which was going at full blast even this late in the year. There was a bit of a crowd there but the waterfall is peaceful and drowns out all the inane conversations.

What's that you say? Want to see a few pics?

Definitely worth the hike in. Then its just back to your car.

I know I have used "awesome" approximately 2,000 times in this post but I was blown away by this park. I hate rehiking trails but this place just might be an exception as I can't wait for my next time in the Canyon. A MUST hike here in SoCal.

This map lays it all out for ya: http://cityofmonrovia.ws/images/content/community_life/bro_wildguide_mcc.pdf


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