Big Dalton Canyon Trail + Coulter Pine Trail
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||2.2 miles (3.5 km)|
|Other Options||3.5 with Coulter Pine Return|
|Hike Time||1-1:30 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||200 feet (61m)|
|Highest Elevation||1,400 feet (427m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Big Dalton Canyon Wilderness Park|
|Weather & Forecast||Latest Conditions|
|Stay Safe||Copy this webpage link to the clipobard and share with a friend before you hike. Let them know when to expect you back.|
The Big Dalton Canyon Trail is just about the perfect family-friendly hike. It’s short, shaded, has lots of twists and turns, is picturesque, and follows a shallow stream that kids can safely enjoy. If you want a little bit more of a workout, take the Coulter Pine Trail back, offering epic views of Big Dalton Dam, Mt Baldy, and Big Iron Mountain. It’s a gem of a hike tucked into suburban LA.
Where is the Big Dalton Canyon Trail?
The hike starts in Big Dalton Canyon Wilderness Park, which is run by the City of Glendora. Use this trailhead address:
Big Dalton Canyon Trailhead, Big Dalton Canyon Road, Glendora, CA 91741
Gear For the Hike
This is an easy hike that you can pretty much do in any type of clothing. Some areas of the trail can be overgrown, so if you don’t like plants on your legs, wear long pants. It can get muddy after rain and there are a few small stream crossings (easy to jump across). In the summer, the trail is well-shaded, but there can also be insects.
Joby GripTight Smartphone Flexible Tripod
Take your selfie stick game to the next level. Part of the fun of a hike is taking pictures, and a flexible JOBY smartphone tripod takes it to the next level. You can use it as a selfie stick, as a regular tripod, but more importantly, as a flexible tripod that can attach to tree branches and other objects. It’s not expensive, and it’s something you can use when not hiking too.
Latest Price – Amazon
Black Diamond Cosmo 300 Headlamp
If something goes wrong and you get lost, sprain your ankle, or get delayed, you might be caught out after dark. And one of the top items that search and rescue departments recommend you carry is a light. Smartphones can work as flashlights, but that drains the battery quickly. It’s better to invest in a reasonably priced and high-quality headlamp like this Black Diamond. It takes AAA batteries, can last 200 hours, and has an emergency strobe. Carry it with you off the trail to use in emergencies as well.
Latest Price – REI | Amazon
REI Membership Saves You Money Forever
Have you shopped at REI before? They have all kinds of active clothes and gear, from fitness, to hiking, to snow sports, to casual wear. It’s an overall great place to shop (here’s why) and they offer a $30 membership that gets you 10% back on everything for life, along with frequent coupons, free shipping, discounts, and member-only sales. It’s a no-brainer.
REI Membership – REI
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated May 2022.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.
Big Dalton Canyon Trail Maps
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.
How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
Here’s what I use. If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 7 or Epix. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
Can I Hike to Big Dalton Dam?
Unfortunately not. Some guides show a trail going all the way to the dam, but today the trail ends at a parking lot used by a construction team. From that lot, there’s a paved road that’s open for about a half-mile before reaching a gate with “no hikers or bikers allowed” signs. I wish the area were open; perhaps it will be in the future.
- Dalton Canyon is named after Henry Dalton, an early homesteader. Dalton was born in London in 1803, made a small fortune in Peru as a trader, which eventually brought him to southern California. In 1843 he settled in the area and started ranching. When the US took California from Mexico in the 1948 war, Dalton became mired in land ownership litigation, and he died in poverty in 1884. Two fun facts: he was also known as Don Enrique Dalton, and he is credited with importing the first honey bees into the US (from Italy) which started the honey industry here.
- Glendora is known as “Pride of the Foothills” (of the San Gabriel Mountains) and you’ll be hiking through those foothills during this hike.
- The Big Dalton Dam, a short distance up the road from this hike, is considered an excellent example of a multiple arch “double-wall” buttress design. Whatever that means, it looks cool. It was built in 1929.
- This park sits on the edge of the San Dimas Experimental Forest (SDEF), formed in 1993, is the largest chaparral experimental forest in the United States. The SDEF is closed to the public, but I think you can get a taste of what it feels like if you return on the Dunn Canyon and Coulter Pine Trails. Also, the SDEF was a UNESCO Biosphere Reserves until it withdrew from the program in 2018. If anyone knows why they withdrew, please contact me.
XX Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
Head back the way you came. If you’d like to add the Coulter Pines Trail to the trip back, continue with the directions below.
Coulter Pines Trail Back to the Start
This guide last updated on December 19, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.