The Best Walking Trail in Rancho Cucamonga
I guess I should preface this page with pointing out that the best walking trail for me, might be the worst walking trail for you, depending on what you like in a walking trail. I should also point out that if you want an easy, flat, laid back, relaxing walking trail, then this trail is not for you. Maybe I should have titled this "The Best Hiking Trail in Rancho Cucamonga".
The trail I'm referring to runs along the flood control channel between Haven Ave and Milliken Ave, and the channel that runs parallel to, and just west of Day Creek Blvd. The walking trail (ok, hiking trail) is all uphill, rising as much as 950 feet in elevation when entering from Wilson Avenue - but the good part is that it is all downhill on the way back. This trail is rarely used. In the 3 years that I have been walking the trail (several days per week), I have probably seen no more than 10 people in total. If you like walking or hiking in solitude, then this trail is "the best".
I like to enter the trail at Wilson Avenue about 100 yards west of Milliken Avenue (where Milliken ends/curves west, just above Los Osos High School). I also sometimes enter from Banyan, just behind the Banyan St. Fire Station. No matter which entrance you take, there is street parking all around but watch for the No Parking signs.
The first part of the trail is paved as it runs along the flood control channel. You can follow the trail from the Milliken Ave. entrance all the way up (approx 4 miles) to the flood control dam. Or, about 1.5 miles up you can make a right (east) turn onto the the electric service road (where the power lines are). The service road is not paved but is easy to follow. You can follow the road about 2 miles to the flood channel near Day Creek. Making a left (north) turn onto the channel road will take you up to Day Creek flood control dam and into the Etiwanda Preserve.
From the top of the road at the Day Creek flood control dam, keep to the right and follow the fence until you see the big boulders where the fence (and trail) ends. Climb over the boulders and you can go south about 500 yards to the Etiwanda Trail rest area with a beautiful view of the valley, or you can veer north up above and behind the Day Creek dam.
If you follow the trail up and behind the Day Creek dam you will find a running creek to cool down in even in the hot summer months and are likely to find a deadly river in the rainy season. Further up the trail there are plenty of cool and shady places to rest.
Starting from Banyan St, up to the Electric Line road, and over to the Etiwanda Dam, and back down (round trip) is approximatly a 9 mile hike so if you plan on going the entire way be sure to bring plenty of water. There is virtually no shade, no water (and no bathroom) until you get up into the Etiwanda Preserve and dam area. Be sure to bring your cellphone for emergencies. This is also rattlesnake country so be sure to stay alert and listen for pissed-off rattlesnakes.
It's also worth noting most of this trail is marked as "No Tresspassing" although I have been told by Rancho Cucamonga Police/Sheriff deputies that as long as you arent causing trouble, they won't hassle you. If you have a CCW it's probably best to not carry and leave it at home.