Cherry on Top

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

Hike Cherry Canyon Park

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?

Hiker at Cherry Creek Canyon Park in Los Angeles

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.

Hiker on the trail at Cherry Creek Canyon Park in LA.

Hiker heading up the hill at Cherry Creek Canyon Park in Los Angeles

Hiker with outstretched arms to welcome the mountain scenery at Cherry Creek Canyon Park in LA

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.

Hiker at Cherry Creek Canyon Park in LA

Hiker at a bench overlooking the mountain scenery at Cherry Creek Canyon Park in Los Angeles

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.

SPIRITED TIP: Stop by the excellent micro-distillery Stark Spirits.


Sunday, November 27, at 9 a.m.

Join outdoor adventure writer Matt Pawlik for the 7th annual "Will Hike for Food" event at beautiful Cherry Canyon. Meet other hikers and bring non-perishable food items to donate to Friends In Deed’s food pantry in Pasadena ( The hike is 3 miles (round-trip) with some moderate climbing. Meet at Cherry Canyon Trail in La Cañada (approximate address: 4168 Hampstead Rd., La Cañada). For more info, @mattitudehikes or

For more info message @mattitudehikes on IG or email

Cherry Canyon Trail in La Canada (approximate address: 4168 Hampstead Rd., La Canada). Park in the small lot or on Hampstead Rd. to begin your adventure into Cherry Canyon Park. Dog-friendly!

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