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A Photo Tour of Monrovia's New Hillside Wilderness Trail

Following up on yesterday's description of the new trail in Monrovia's Hillside Wilderness area (see here: ), I actually took the trail today. Here is a photo description of my trek from the Ridgeside entry point to the Cloverleaf entry point. Note that some of the pictures show itty-bitty trail signs. These are temporary and will be replaced with serious signs soon.

This is the Ridgeside entry point. It looks like a driveway because it is that too.

Oh no! Looks like it's closed, but it isn't. The lock threw me off. Open the gate and ride up Clamshell Road.

At the top of Clamshell the road goes to the left and the trail to the right. The road rejoins the trail later but don't take it because it crosses private property.

Take the trail until you get to this cutoff on the right. See the itty-bitty direction sign? Hopefully the official one will be bigger.

Soon you come to seriously steep switchbacks. A skilled mountain biker could handle it, but I'm not a skilled mountain biker, and I value my neck. I walked my bike down.

This is where the private road rejoins the trail. It comes in on the left and you can't see it in this picture. The old, easy road to the Cloverleaf entry point is in the left middle of the picture. The trail is the road on the right. It may be hard to see, but there is a cable blocking the way to the old road. It's the city's way of asking you to please take the road on the right.

I don't mind admitting that I got off my bike here and walked it down. After all, I wouldn't want my poor bike to get hurt.

Nice view into Arcadia.

The road on the right is what I came down. The road on the left goes to Arcadia's Wilderness Park. I'm not going to go that way today.

A nice easy stretch for a bit.

We encounter the old road to Cloverleaf again. Notice the cable, again to encourage you to stay off the old road and take the path on the right.

After some ups and steep downs we come to the Cloverleaf gate, just inside of which is this building. Notice the green post? That's a drinking fountain that also lets you fill water bottles. Cool!

Okay, here's the gate. Notice the panic bar on the pedestrian door. That'll let you get out if you are stuck inside after hours. You think you're done when you pass this? You're not.

The trail does not follow the road. Just past the gate it veers to the right. Take this route because if the gate at the end of Cloverleaf (the road on the left) happens to be closed, you'll have to backtrack and take this route anyway.

Okay, this is the Cloverleaf entry point. Can't see it? Well, its right where you see the storm drain in the curb. Just to the right of a private road, where you see the mailboxes. Hopefully it will better marked when the final signs are put in place.

And that's it. I had a great time.

- Brad Haugaard


  1. Cool! Glad you had a good tour... thanks for sharing!

  2. Thanks, Brad.

    John C. Fremont couldn't have done it better. Do you know of a map that shows the trails?

    1. Thanks! The city might have one at its website and there is a little one at the top of this post:

  3. Excellent reporting Brad, thanks. I'm glad you didn't want to chance hurting your bike! Or your neck. I'll hike that soon....

  4. Just a heads up, all of Ridgeside is now permit only parking. Not a big deal for bikers but it does impact walkers.

  5. Hey Brad. You're the foremost expert on the preserve access, so can you answer a few questions?

    There numerous signs up there that say "PRIVATE ROAD" "STAY OUT", etcon the fire road. This is related to the upper of the houses up on the hill? Legally, is that fire road truly private? Are the threatening signs legal?

    Didn't we pay these homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars each recently? What were we paying for? Is this fire road private or public?

    Recently rode the new trail and although it's great, that trail definitely wasn't well thought out. It was basically just grading the fire break. Who did the trail work? Are there options for an experienced trail crew to cut new, more thoughtfully laid out, trails up there?


    1. Let me try to answer as best I can.
      I'm not sure which private road signs you are referring to (there are a lot of them), but there is a house on the new portion of the trail with a private road sign, but you easily bypass it using the approved trail. There are other old signs down near Cloverleaf, some of which will remain valid and some which should hopefully disappear when the city puts up its final signs. I hope. I hope.

      In my discussions with the city I've been led to understand that there is the possibility for trail improvements, but the only definite thing I've heard is for improvements to what they call "Coyote Trail," or something like that, which is the steep switchback section that goes from the top of Clamshell to where it rejoins the road.

    2. Thank you. I'm mostly referring to the highest house. There are two options when you approach the clamshell lookout, when coming from Ridgeside. One is to take the gentle fireroad left where you hit a gate in about .5 mile with the PRIVATE signs. The other is to go right to the lookout and take the dangerous switch backs down the ridge line/fire break. Obviously, the fire road is a gentler, safer, and more enjoyable route. But I'm one that is not inclined to ignore the signs if they are truly legal and that the road is illegal to take. although I see others ignoring the signs and riding down the road.

      I also would like to know more about the agreement that the city has with the home owners, when they handed over 400,000 dollars to them. Is this a public document? If you have seen the deal, can you post it?

      Over the years we have learned that these home-owners are fierce in their dislike of people around their private wilderness. When running into them, they are usually boisterous and angry. It would be really nice for us users to know what is truly legal and what is not and what the agreement they came to with the city specifically says.

    3. The location you describe is private, which is why the city cut the steep Coyote Trail route, to get around it.

      The monetary agreement with a couple of residents is just at the Cloverleaf gate - to get clear legal rights for people to go through the gate. I'm not aware of any monetary agreements with others.

      I recall that the agreements were approved by the City Council in April. Details of agreement: