10 Best Hiking Trails in Whittier, CA

Explore the top 10 hiking trails in Whittier, CA for all skill levels. From scenic views to family-friendly paths, find the perfect trail for your next outdoor adventure in California.

Tobi Miles
July 5, 2024
Explore the top 10 hiking trails in Whittier, CA for all skill levels. From scenic views to family-friendly paths, find the perfect trail for your next outdoor adventure in California.

Are you looking to travel to Whittier California? If you’re the outdoorsy type that craves exercise and adventure, Whittier has some of the top-rated trails in California. Here in the sunshine state of California, Whittier attracts visitors from all over the world. Visitors come during the summer months seeking the challenge and excitement that these hills have to offer.

Whittier has fantastic hiking trails that feature more than a dozen waterfalls. Before booking your trip, it must be known that Whittier has only one hotel called the Inn at Whittier. Here’s our list of the top ten trails in Whittier California.

Keep in mind: some trails may be shorter, while others can be more challenging. Always take into consideration the weather for the day of your hike. California is called the sunshine state for a reason, make sure that you pack plenty of sun protection to prevent burning and have plenty of water.

Please call ahead to see if there are any entry or parking fees.

Find Your Next Hike in Whittier, California

1. Turnbull Canyon

Credit: Modern Hiker

Turnbull Canyon is one of Whittier’s popular loop trails and is attached to the Puente Hills Reserve. One of the perfect times to hike Turnbull Canyon is during the cooler months with pleasant temperatures. During your hike, enjoy captivating scenery and the snow-covered San Gabriels.

Turnbull Canyon is located in the northern area of the preserve and has very steep drainages. It also has a creek located at the bottom that is surrounded by Sycamore trees. The trials have sage-covered slopes and amaze you with the turn of every corner.

You can find the trail for Turnbull Canyon located off of Turnbull Canyon Road. To your north, they have a parking area and gated section. You’ll find that the trail begins just beyond the gates. This trail offers free parking, however, you’ll find that it gets full very quickly due to its popularity. Visitors seem to love this trail for an easy hiking day.

Based on reviews, visitors seem to love the atmosphere of this trail but have trouble finding parking. The first half of the trail seems to be easy, with the second half becoming more challenging.

Difficulty: BeginnerDistance: 4.3 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 910 Feet

2. Sycamore Canyon Trail

Credit: MTB Project

If you’re looking for a moderate trail, you’ll want to check out Sycamore Canyon Trails. It’s one step up from the beginner trail we mentioned earlier. It has a few big hills and switchbacks so you can count on breaking a sweat during your hike. This trail also makes for a great family-friendly hiking day.

There are several spots along this trail that have picnic areas and restrooms if you ever need a break. The beginning three miles are paved and then have a smooth dirt road towards the end. Also, three miles into the hike is a great breakpoint where you can grab lunch that is called Danielson Ranch Group Camp.

Based on reviews, visitors love bringing their bikes along on this trail. Many visitors have also claimed to have seen rattlesnakes, so always be cautious whenever hiking.

Hazardous weather closures. Keep in mind that any continuous rain will close this trail. It may even stay closed for forty-eight hours after heavy rain. Since there is a high clay content in the soil, it could cause the trails to be greased and slippery. During inclement weather, take extra precautions.

Fire hazard. If the region has a red flag day, and there are high winds or fire activity, the trails will also close.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 3.9 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 350 Feet

Related Read: 25 Romantic Getaways in San Diego

3. Nike Hill

Credit: DSBoba

Nike Hill trail is a moderate trail that will give you views of the city landscape. When you reach the top of the hill, you’ll be able to see towns, mountains, and roads. This trail takes on average an hour and fifty-six minutes to complete. Not only is this a great spot for hiking, but you can also go birding and biking here too. The best time to visit the Nike Hill trail is March thru October.

The walk up to this trail is a bit of a challenge. As you’re making your way up, some of the views you will encounter include the San Gabriel Valley and Rose Hill Cemetery. Now and then, you’ll come across signs for a dirt trail. You can take those if you want to experience more of a hike-like trail.

Based on reviews, visitors can’t get enough of the beautiful sunrise you can see when you reach the top. They’ve said it has a great incline when you’re going uphill. The only downside was that this trail was closer to the roads and less nature.

Difficulty: ModerateDistance: 4.13 MilesTotal Elevation Gain: 991 Feet

4. Murphy Ranch Trail

Credit: Modern Hiker

Murphy’s Ranch loop trail takes you down into the Murphy Ranch ruins. Being ranked as a moderate hike, it takes about forty-eight minutes to complete. You’ll find that this not only is a popular area for hiking, but biking and horseback riding too. If you’re trying to figure out when to plan your trip, don’t fret, Murphy’s Ranch trail is open all year long.

During your hike, you’ll see that this trail is shared by visitors who love to hike and bike. Stay cautious and use the opposite direction to avoid bikers. Also in some areas dogs are allowed if you want to bring your pet. Based on reviews, visitors love the views on this trail. They’ve said this is the local hidden gem in the middle of the suburbs.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 1.7 MilesElevation Gain: 334 Feet

5. Whittier Greenway Trail

Credit: Whittier PRCS

The Whittier Greenway Trail has lanes for both hikers and bikers. The trail is paved with partial railings and is usually four to eight feet wide. This trail is very easy on hikers, so if you’re a beginner you’ll want to make this one of the first trails you conquer. If you plan on hiking with little ones, it is also stroller-friendly with its smooth surfaces. You’ll also find that there are benches and picnic tables if you need to stop and rest.

As of recently, the city of Whittier purchased an extra two-point eight miles to extend the Greenway. The extension is said to provide a safe pathway to either hike or bike to the Santa Ana River Trail.

Based on reviews, visitors found that this location is a little difficult to find based on the directions available. As for the trail, they’ve described it as very easy, and better when you go in the early morning  or evening to avoid the heat.

Difficulty: Beginner

Distance: 10.4 milesTotal Elevation Gain: 206 Feet

Related Read: 29 Top Treehouse Rentals in California

6. Skyline Drive Trail

Credit: Shutterstock

The Skyline Drive trail is considered a moderate hike for those who are up for the challenge. This trail takes about five hours and eleven minutes to complete. You’ll find that it’s very popular for hikers, bikers, and even running. The trial is open all year long and is dog-friendly as long as they are leashed.

On your hike, you’ll be able to see some of the Skyline Trail’s natural beauty! On your hike, you will encounter small trees, wildflowers, squirrels, rattlesnakes (in the spring), deer, and maybe coyotes during the sunset! One unique feature that the Skyline Trail provides is the ability to even go horseback riding! This makes for a family-friendly attraction for younger kids.

You’ll also notice that Skyline Trail is a very long connector trail that goes through open spaces and channels that connects Covina to the city of Whittier. This trail will allow visitors to also connect to several trails.

Based on reviews, this trail is challenging and long even at a normal speed. Once you get to the top, you’ll notice a temperature change. The trail is open, has small spaces of shade, and is wide enough to accommodate hikers, bikers, and runners. If you park on Foothill and walk to the entrance, you won’t need a parking pass.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 10.9 milesTotal Elevation Gain: 2,227 feet

7. Ahwingna and Native Oak Loop Trail

Credit: Yelp

The Ahwingna and Native Oak Loop trail is considered a moderate hiking trail for those who are up for the challenge. For those who have some time to spare in their day, it takes about two hours and twenty-four minutes to complete. If you plan on bringing your dogs along for the hike, they must be on a leash.

This trail also has a steep climb. To get to Native Oak, you will need to turn right at the fork. This trail will start off as wide, but then turn into a gravel road towards the bottom. After the bottom, you’ll see a steep climb to Native Oak. As you stay left of the trail, you’ll continue to notice rises that each has a climax. Since this trail is biker-friendly, you’ll want to watch out for bikers as you’re coming down.

Based on reviews, visitors seem to like the challenge of this trail. They have raved about the tense inclines and gorgeous views.

Difficulty: ModerateDistance: 4.8 milesTotal Elevation Gain: 1,161 feet

8. Arroyo San Miguel Trail

Credit: Carol Lee / All Trails

The Arroyo San Miguel trail is an easy to moderate hiking trail. On average, it should take you about an hour and thirty-three minutes to complete. This trail is located at 7531 Colima Road and is across from Murphy Ranch. It is open all year long and has accessible free parking.

On your hike, you may interact with wildlife such as raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, snakes, deer, and various types of birds. Based on reviews, many families have brought their kids along on these trails. They’ve also said you may want to choose to hike on a cool day as it offers very little to no shade.

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Distance: 3 milesTotal Elevation Gain: 597 feet

Related Read: Top 14 Best Romantic Getaways in Los Angeles

9. Worsham Canyon Trail

Credit: Modern Hiker

Worsham Trail is one-of-a-kind and a hidden gem of Whittier. This trail is several hundred feet above the floor. You’ll find that this trail has zig-zags throughout the canyon. Worsham Trail is a deep canyon that it’s hard to see outside of it. The trail is located towards the end of Philadelphia Street. From Philadelphia Street, you’ll go through Whittier College and into the hills.

On average, this trail takes about two hours to complete. The best months to go hiking on this trail are from October to May during the cooler months. You are allowed to bring dogs on this trail as long as they are leashed, however, you’ll want to be careful on warmer days because of ticks and rattlesnakes. Since this trail is so deep, you’ll be very unlikely to get cellphone service.

One of the downsides to this trail is that there aren’t any restrooms or break areas. When hiking the trail you’ll be able to see almost every mountain range in Southern California. If visibility is clear, you may be able to spot the Hollywood sign. Based on reviews, you’ll want to pass on hiking this trail on hot and hazy days.

Difficulty: Extreme

Distance: 4.2 milesTotal Elevation Gain: 1,021 feet

10. Peppergrass to Rattlesnake Ridge

Credit: All Whittier Homes

Open year-round, Peppergrass to Rattlesnake ridge trail takes about two hours and thirty-six minutes to complete. This trail is the perfect warm-up if you want a steep incline that turns into a running trail. Weekends are typically crowded on this trail, so if you want plenty of space to run, we recommend going during a weekday.

The trail is very wide so it makes it easier to pass other runners. On clear days, you’ll be able to see downtown Los Angeles from the top. One thing to keep in mind is that on days when there is a downpour, the trail will typically close.

Based on reviews, visitors love the steep trails and beautiful views Peppergrass has to offer. Since this trail has minimal shade, you’ll want to make sure you bring plenty of water and sun protection.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 5.1 miles

Total Elevation Gain: 1,309 feet

Tobi Miles
Article updated:
July 5, 2024 11:07 AM

Tobi Miles is a University of Florida graduate turned globe-trotting culinary explorer and digital nomad expert. As the founder of "Bytes & Bites," he combines his passion for international cuisine with practical advice on remote work, inspiring others to experience the world through food and cultural immersion. With 32 countries under his belt and a knack for uncovering hidden culinary gems, Tobi is redefining the intersection of work, travel, and gastronomy for a new generation of adventurers.

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