Cherry on Top

Hike to the Ultimate Destination in Cherry Creek Canyon Park LA County

The Ultimate Destination in LA County? It’s easier to reach than you may think. Nestled in the San Rafael Hills in La Cañada Flintridge, Cherry Canyon Park has a 2.5-mile out-and-back hike up to an old fire tower with an incredible panorama. There’s also a vista point called, well, the Ultimate Destination! Sounds pretty great. Ready?

When you start the hike, ignore the descending singletrack and head up the wide fire road to the Cherry Canyon Motorway. The climb brings beautiful views of the San Gabriels (behind you to the north) as well as into the canyon below to the east, where deer are especially active during sunset.

After nearly half a mile of consistent ascent, you’ll reach the Five Points junction. Different motorways are available to explore here, including one that heads north to Descanso Gardens. Opt for the Ridge Motorway fire road on your left and get views to the east of Glendale and the Verdugo Mountains. Ignore spur trails for now and head straight toward the inactive Cerro Negro fire tower (now with antennas) and to the summit for even more expansive views.

Head back and don’t miss an opportunity for an incredible photo at a perfectly placed lone bench overlooking the San Gabriel Valley. Pro Tip: Just below the bench, find a trail (and sign) for the “Ultimate Destination.” Wend under the oaks and along the yellow blooms of resident mustard plants, and keep an eye on the trail for scurrying quail and basking western alligator lizards.

At the Ultimate Destination find a picnic table and savor the scenery of the San Gabriel Valley: La Cañada, Pasadena, and points beyond sprawl in front of you with the peaks of the San Gabriels looming, including Mount Wilson, the easiest to identify. Reconnect with the fire road to return the way you came.

BONUS SPIRITS: Stop by the excellent micro-distillery Stark Spirits. Place an order online for pickup (4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) or get it delivered! They’re also making hand and surface sanitizer (WHO formula, FDA registered). Support a local business, stay clean, and add some spirit to your day.

Park in the small lot or on Hampstead Rd. to begin your adventure into Cherry Canyon Park. Dog-friendly!

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