Tucked into the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles, the Marshall Canyon Trail hike offers a shaded oasis along Marshall Creek. The hike climbs into the foothills Marshall Canyon Regional Park, does a lollipop-loop with great views, and then descends back along Marshall Creek. This hike offers a little bit of everything: moderate distance, reasonable climbing, and lots of scenery. Keep your eyes open for deer and wildlife that are using the creek to hydrate. This route takes you about 10.5 miles, but there are opportunities to cut the distance and climbing down with a simple out-back turnaround. It’s a great trail for beginners looking to get some distance in without super-tough conditions, and also a great options for experienced hikers who want a change of scenery.
Where is Marshall Canyon Trail?
Technically speaking, Marshall Canyon Trail is a 7.8 mile trail that starts in La Verne, CA, and makes it way up to Marshall Canyon Regional Park. This hike covers the most popular route, which starts at the Oak Mesa Park, follows the trail north, and then comes back.
There are bathrooms and water fountains at the ball field next to the parking area. Oak Mesa Park is a short walk to the actual trail, but most folks park here because of the lot and bathrooms.
You’ll share the trail with runners and bikers. Get there early to beat the crowds.
Gear for the Hike
Although you could get away with doing this hike with fitness gear as many trail runners do, I strongly recommend using proper hiking gear. Don’t let the fact that this isn’t a big mountain hike fool you, it’s long and has tough sections. There’s a decent amount of shade on the hike but there are also exposed sections that can get very hot. There can also be flies and mosquitos, so bring insect repellant.
Joby tripods attach to anything. The legs are adjustable and grippy, so you can put them on trees, packs, rocks, whatever. And they work like regular tripods too. Works with everything from smartphones to DSLRs.
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This popular hike route actually covers a few parks. It starts the Marshall Canyon Trail, which then enters Marshall Canyon Regional Park, which then enters Claremont Hills Wilderness Park and becomes the Cobalt Canyon Trail, then heads back on the Marshall Canyon Trail. So all that happens. There are a lot of trails in these parks, and if you want to go off the guide to explore, there are many opportunities. But again, this route is the most popular one and a good starting point for your first hike in the area.
The route is an out-and-back with a lollipop at the end. If you want to hike less distance, just turn around anywhere before the lollipop loop. Turning around at the start of the loop makes this a 7.2 mile hike.
This thing does everything: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart rate, blood oxygen, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and the list goes on. I keep a GPX route on the watch so I can quickly glance down and make sure I’m in the right place.
I load a few types of offline maps onto my smartphone when I need to interact with the map in detail. I also use it before my hikes as a planning tool for all kinds of things, including finding free government land to camp on. The benefits are many, I highly recommend it.
Don’t be caught out if your batteries die. Take a topo map with you on the trail and learn how to read it. Some people also print my guides out for use on the hike. I’m a map geek and I love to pour over maps and guide books when planning my next adventure.