Chino Hills State Park (CHSP) is an ideal location for hiking at all levels. Whether, you are looking for a leisurely hike on flat, wide trails with the family or would like a high mileage hike along the Park’s step ridgeline trails, CHSP is the place to go. With over 65 miles of trails, you should easily find a hike suitable for your ability level. Below are just some recommended hikes from each of the three main park entrances and the Rolling M Ranch.
Please refer to the official Chino Hills State Park map or consult a Park Ranger before hiking any trails.
BANE CANYON ENTRANCE (CHINO HILLS) TRAILS
Bane Canyon Road (from Sapphire Road)
A popular option for those entering the Park using the Bane Canyon entrance is to park their car on the street (at the intersection of Sapphire and Elinvar) and hike up Bane Canyon Road. The first ½ mile is a fairly steep grade, although you are rewarded with great views of the City and the whole valley below, all the way to the San Gabriel Mountains. Also, as you hike up the road to your right is a steep canyon with a wonderful riparian area running through it. On the opposite ridgeline, there are very large California sycamore and coast live oak trees offering wonderful habitat for birds and animals.
Once you make it to the top of the road you are rewarded with a slight down hill grade for the next two miles. The road borders a riparian area with willow, sycamore, and a few oak trees. This is the most traveled road in the Park so you will be sharing it with cars and bikes. Also, don’t get too comfortable as you hike down Bane Canyon Road. Remember, when you turn around, you will now have to hike up the road.
If you park on the street and hike up Bane Canyon Road, after you reach the top, you will see two gates on both the left and right side of the road. The trail on the right (westward direction) leads to a trail on Bane Ridge. This trail parallels Bane Canyon Road that you will see it below to your left as you hike south. This is a very scenic trail that offers view of many small canyons and distant ridgelines. Since it follows the contours of the ridge, the trail can become quite steep in places.
If you decide, to take the gate on the left (eastward directions), you will wind up a ridge that leads to East Fence Line Trail. This is also a ridgeline trail that heads south. Although you are offered views, if you look to the east you will see many signs of “city life” including recent home development that has moved very far up the opposite ridge.
ROLLING M RANCH TRAILS
There are many trailheads that you can reach in the vicinity of the Rolling M Ranch. If you decide to drive into the Park, you will most likely leave your car in the vicinity of the Rolling M Ranch.
Upper Aliso Canyon Trail
If you walk north, past the Rolling M red barn, through the gravel parking lot, you will reach the Upper Aliso Canyon trail head. This is a very popular destination for families with small children and those wishing for a leisurely hike since the trail is pretty flat and there is literally no elevation gain. The trail, which is also a fire road, takes you along a heavily woods riparian area that has a running stream during the winter and spring months. A nice turn around point for those who want to do a short hike (approximately 1 ½ miles) is the big, old Coast Live Oak tree growing right next to the trail. This tree offers welcome shady relief all day long from the sun during the simmering summer months.
If you continue on this trail for another two miles, you will encounter additional trailheads. One of the trails will take you to the Raptor Ridge trail that eventually leads you to Four Corners.
Telegraph Canyon Trail
This trail can also be accessed in the vicinity of the Rolling M Ranch. Telegraph Canyon trail (eastward direction) is a relatively flat trail that follows a riparian area for the first two miles. After about two miles, if you stay on Telegraph Canyon trail you will need to hike up a steep hill that takes you to the top of a high ridgeline. Once on top of the ridge, if you continue to hike east you will soon encounter the Four Corners rest area.
If you are continue past Four Corners on Telegraph Canyon trail, you will continue to hike on a wonderful canyon trail which follows a heavily wooded riparian area. This trail continues eastward for another six miles all the way to the Carbon Canyon entrance in Orange County. One of the highlights of the Telegraph Canyon trail is a wonderful shaded rest area in the midst of an oak woodland. This is a great place to rest and refuel, as it stays shaded all day long.
Warning: If you plan to hike Telegraph Canyon from Rolling M Ranch to the Carbon Canyon Entrance and back to the ranch, this will be about a 16-mile hike.
This Trail is currently Closed.
This is one of the most popular trails in the Park for its location within a wooded riparian area. After hiking about a mile on Telegraph Canyon trail, you will encounter the trailhead marked clearly on the right by a sign. This single-track trail takes you deep within the riparian area and one of the benefits is the continuous shade it offers for about 1 ½ miles until it ends at Four Corners. As you hike in this wooded wonderland, be aware of the bird life, such as wrens, woodpeckers, and vireos that stirs up above in the trees. Also, be on the look out for western tree squirrels that jump from limb to limb.
South Ridge Trail
This is another trail (and fire road) that you can access if you park at the Rolling M Ranch. This is a very challenging trail that makes a very steep ascent for about the first mile up to the ridgeline. Physical fitness is a must if you attempt this trail. Like many of the other ridgeline trails, you are rewarded with great views of the surrounding hills and canyons. Also, just like the other ridge trails, there is very little tree cover, so it can get very hot, especially in the summer months. If you plan to hike to the highest point in the Park (San Juan Hill), you will need to take South Ridge Trail for about two miles until the trail splits. If you want to climb even higher and make it to San Juan Hill, take the steep trial to the left. If you stay to the right, you will make your way to Four Corners.
Lower Aliso Canyon Trail
This popular trail is accessed through the old campground on the paved section of Bane Canyon Road. This trail heads south through a wide valley floor, with trees and a riparian area on the right and grasslands (non-native, unfortunately) on the left. About ¾ to 1 mile into the trail, there is a trail fork. If you go right you can hike up Bobcat Ridge Trail which leads to Scully Ridge Trail which will take you south.
If you turn left at the fork, you will continue on Lower Aliso Canyon trail, if you hike about another four miles through the canyon, you will come to the end at the Green Valley Golf Course near the 91 Freeway. You can’t miss the 91 Freeway, as you will start hearing the all too familiar traffic sounds before you can even see the freeway. This is a relatively easy trail compared to the ridgeline trails, although once you turn around and head back, you will soon notice you are hiking up a slight incline. Be on the look out for various forms of wildlife such as deer and coyote. Also, look skyward, as you will see raptors cruising the skies for a meal below.
RIM CREST ENTRANCE (YORBA LINDA) TRAILS
Easy Street Trail
As soon as you walk into the Park from the Rim Crest entrance, you will see a single track trail right in front of you by the information kiosk. Easy Street starts through a meadow of grasslands and quickly descends into the canyon. Once into the canyon you are will notice coastal sage scrub and chaparral type vegetation. Be on the lookout for California fuscia, coastal sagebrush, lemonade berry, and holly-leaf cherry. The trail continues to descend sharply until it intersects with Telegraph Canyon Trail.
South Ridge Trail
Also right at the Rim Crest entrance, you will come across a fire road that goes right (east) and left (west). If you head to the east you will begin to hike up a steep hill that continues to follow the contours of the ridge. This is an alternate route to San Juan Hill, the highest point in the Park. Continue for about five miles and you will eventually make your way to the Rolling M Ranch.
If you head west, you will parallel Telegraph Canyon Trail, below to your right and will eventually make your way to Telegraph Canyon via the Diemer trail.
Little Canyon Trail (via South Ridge Trail)
To get to Little Canyon, you need to go east on the South Ridge Trail for just over a mile. You will then see a fire road that descends down the ridge to the left; this is the Little Canyon trail. The trail makes a steep descent down the trail for about ½ mile until it intersects with Telegraph Canyon trail. Little Canyon is a nice trail to see examples of various types of vegetation plus oak and walnut woodlands.
If you are want to hike a little further, it is recommended that you turn right at Telegraph Canyon trail and hike another mile until you come to the shaded rest area in the middle of an oak woodland.
CARBON CANYON ENTRANCE (BREA) TRAILS
Telegraph Canyon Trail
Telegraph Canyon trail is one of two trail options if you enter through the Carbon Canyon entrance. This trail works its way east through a beautiful canyon and is relatively flat. If you would like an easy hike with little elevation gain, this hike is recommended for you. Since it borders a riparian zone, you will see lots of vegetation and trees, such as willows and sycamores. Also as you begin your hike if you look south up the hills you will see large patches of prickly pear cactus. This trail continues for about six miles until you reach the Four Corners rest area. Also, this is one of the more popular trails for mountain bikers, so be on the look out for bikes going very fast.
North Ridge Trail ACCESS TO NORTH RIDGE TRAIL FROM TELEGRAPH (CARBON CANYON END) IS CLOSED UNTIL REPAIRS ARE MADE
If a strenuous uphill hike is something you are looking for, then it is recommended that you try the North Ridge Trail. The trail makes a fairly steep climb until you reach the ridgelines. This is maybe the only trail in the Park that is positioned on the north side of the slope. For this reason you will encounter more vegetation than other ridge trails and will also encounter more shade as you hike up the steep portions of the trial.