Hike to Gilman Peak in Chino Hills

Gilman Peak Chino Hills


From the issue Rise to the Occasion

Chino Coaster

Theme-park rides aren't the only way to get a good rush in Orange County. Find your thrills in Chino Hills. The state park—saved from urban sprawl in the 1970s—unfurls in thousands of acres of grassy swells once grazed by cattle and sheep, and includes a stellar valley-to-views trail to panoramic Gilman Peak. The 1,200 feet of elevation gain comes gradually, isn't obstructed by rocks, and offers great vistas for most of the 4-mile trek to the summit. The first few miles on the North Ridge Trail are filled with prairie hill scenery and California walnut trees. The path ascends a high ridge with huge views of snow-capped Mount Baldy and Ontario Peak as large Gilman Peak comes into sight—and is accessed via a side trail. The 1,685-foot peak, with red-tailed hawks soaring overhead, is pure pano-rah-rah: Anaheim and Fullerton slope to the Pacific while Santiago Peak looms and the Santa Anas stretch to the southeast. Raise up your arms—roller coaster!

Take Highway 57 to Brea, exit on Lambert Rd. and drive east. After 2 miles, Lambert Rd. becomes Carbon Canyon Rd. Drive another mile, past Carbon Canyon Regional Park to Chino Hills Discovery Center on the left. There's a $5 day-use fee. Begin hiking up Telegraph Canyon Trail, leaving from the east end of the lot. Walk 0.15 mile through an old lemon grove to a junction with North Ridge Trail. Turn left and hike 3.5 miles up the ridge. There are no junctions until Gilman Trail. Turn right and hike the final 0.2 mile to the summit. Return the way you came for a 7.75-mile, out-and-back hike, or continue over the summit on the hikers-only Gilman Trail for 1 mile, down to Telegraph Canyon Trail. Turn right and hike back to the trailhead for an 8.5-mile loop. Bring this map of the park. Due to state park budget cuts, Chino Hills State Park is closed Tuesdays through Thursdays. Dog-friendly!

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