This loop through Powder Canyon, located partially in Puente Hills Habitat Authority lands and partially in Los Angeles County’s Peter F. Schabarum Regional Park, takes you through some beautiful woodland areas and into a canyon cutting through the Puente Hills before turning around and climbing back over the hills. This route appears to be less used by hikers than others in the hills because it is more popular with equestrians (there are facilities and corrals at either end of the canyon). You may have the entire house to yourself at times.
This route begins at the Puente Hills Preserve on the hills’ southern edge. Park at the Nogales Trailhead in either the small equestrian ring or the little spillover lot. The trail starts on a gravel fire road immediately north of the equestrian center. The gravel doesn’t continue long beyond the ring, and the track soon turns into a very even dirt road.
After spending most of your time in the Puente Hills’ pervasive sun and grassland, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find yourself wandering through a small but dense group of native oaks. If it’s a hot, sunny day, you’ll notice a noticeable dip in temperature here and may be tempted to slow down your hiking pace to appreciate it.
After climbing a short hill, you’ll reach a big confluence between trails and fire roads that’s obvious on maps but not so obvious in terms of trail signage.
Ignore the fire road to your right just before you crest this hill; instead, proceed straight into the canyon ahead of you and begin descending. The Purple Sage Trail (a fire road) and an unnamed fire road to the west are on your left.
The fire road narrows as you descend into Powder Canyon, and you’ll start to glimpse vistas of the San Gabriels through the canyon’s end. Just past the 0.9 mile mark, you enter Schabarum Regional Park and begin a steady descent inside the canyon.
In the distance ahead of you, you’ll notice some red barns and street lamps. When I originally hiked this route, I had no idea it connected with the Schabarum Regional Park, so I was astonished to find myself around mile 1.46 in front of a large equestrian facility with plenty of trailer parking.
CONDITIONS ON THE TRAIL
Excellent work. Trails are well-traveled, well-maintained, and typically well-signed. However, there are a few potentially perplexing crossroads along the route, so make sure you’re following the directions. All trails in the Puente Hills Preserve are closed for 48 hours after rain.
Take the Fullerton Avenue exit south from the Pomona Freeway (CA-60). Continue on Fullerton Road for about 2 miles, then turn right to stay on Fullerton Road. On your right, you’ll see the Roland Water District buildings and a dirt road. Take the second dirt road on the right (in about 0.2 miles). A modest parking space is located near the Nogales Trailhead. Continue on to the larger parking lot near the equestrian arena. There are no fees.
Next Point of Interest: Friendly Hills Country Club