Alternate: Falls Trail
7 miles roundtrip; moderate
Perhaps the prettiest hike in the region, this trail goes along Sawpit and Sycamore canyons. Up high are views, chaparral and cactus; in the midranges are wildflowers and a green meadow; and on the lower elevations are a creek, waterfalls, oak and sycamore groves and lush fern gardens. (Poison oak is also plentiful, so watch out.) The first leg of the hike is up a steep road shared by cyclists and the occasional car, but once you’re on the Overturff Trail, the trail is quiet, green, often-shady and little-traveled. About 1.5 miles up the trail, you’ll be in Twin Springs Canyon-pay attention so you’ll notice when you walk over the natural rock bridge over a spring. Natural bridges are quite rare, and this is the only known one in Southern California. The trail ends at Deer Park, where you’ll see the ruins of a resort lodge built by Ben Overturff. You can return on the Overturff Trail, or take the easier Sawpit Canyon Road back.
For a shorter hike with a more spectacular destination, drive up to the Nature Center and take the .75-mile Falls Trail to the impressive 30-foot-tall Monrovia Canyon Waterfall. A great outing with young kids, this trail is typically packed with people on weekends.
Note that the whole park is closed on Tuesdays, and both the Overturff and Sawpit Canyon routes are closed on Wednesdays, when the Monrovia P.D. practices at the firing range off Sawpit Canyon Road.
Driving Directions: Exit Myrtle from the 210 Freeway in Monrovia. Drive north (toward the mountains) on Myrtle, turn right on Hillcrest and turn left on Canyon, following the sign to stay on Canyon when the road splits. Park in the lot just before the small ranger station. There’s a $5 parking fee.
Hiking Directions: Walk up the paved road a short distance and turn right on the road marked “Trask Scout Reservation.” Walk up this steep road about 1.5 miles and turn left onto the marked Ben Overturff Trailhead. The two-mile trail ends at Deer Park; you can either return the way you came or walk back on the dirt road.