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.
Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.
If you’re hiking in the backcountry it makes sense to have a decent emergency kit and some basic gear to spend the night in a pinch.Full HikingGuy Gear List
* 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 REI link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
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.
Gaia GPS is a planning and navigation tool that you can use on your phone, tablet, and the web. I use it on my phone when I need to interact with the map and know where my position is on it. I use it at home on the computer to plan routes. You can overlay maps such as public lands to find out free places to camp. It’s a powerful tool.
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.