Week 255: Cherry Canyon La Cañada Flintridge

January 02, 2022

 AllTrails Owl Trail, Cherry Canyon Motorway, and Liz's Loop, 1.7 miles. 

SoCal is at her hiking best during the winter months of January and February. Clear skies cleaned by rain, crispy, cool, clean air, and temperatures that temper hiking under the hot sun on unshaded trails. Barbara and I drove out to La Cañada Flintridge for our second hike in this sweet web of trails just above Descanso Gardens. Three trails, each with its own personality, led us on too short loop around the canyon on a glorious day. We began at the Owl Trail to the left of the trailhead at the top of Hampstead Road and hiked down into the shady section of the canyon. Lush, green, and (thanks to the rain) framed by rippling brook—the first stream with water we've seen in months. The elevation during first half mile of the hike rose just enough to warm us up on a chilly but not cold day. We stopped for a photo of our goal—Liz's Loop across the canyon—as we dodged a stream of mountain bikers whizzing down the path we had just climbed. The Owl Trail ended at a section of the Cherry Canyon Motorway Trail with a clear open view of Glendale to the west, the Observatory on the Santa Monica Mountains, and all the way out to the Pacific. Following the unshaded Cherry Canyon Motorway as it curved north then east for about a quarter mile, to our right was a canyon filled with the greenery Mother Nature provided after last week's rain. So pretty! About a mile in, we caught the trailhead for Liz's Loop. A narrow, gutted-by-rain trail with decent elevation and at the top a breathtaking view of the San Gabriel Mountains and communities tucked below. We stopped for a break just to take in our surroundings then headed back down to the original trailhead and the car. Great for hiking, dog walking, and mountain biking, Cherry Canyon has offshoot trails to extend this too-short delight. One drawback: there are only 3 parking spaces at the trailhead so get there early like we did, or be prepared to park on the streets below and walk uphill to the trailhead. A beauty of a hike to kick off the New Year!




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