Sunday, August 4, 2013

San Juan Hill and Gilman Peak

Hiked: 8/4/2013
Distance: 9 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 1781' (San Juan Hill), 1685' (Gilman Peak)
Prominence: 976' (San Juan Hill), 195' (Gilman Peak)
Elevation Gain: 2031' (combined)
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.62
Round trip time: 2 hours 50 minutes
Recommended water: 96 oz. (water available on hike)
Parking/Fees: Parking free on Rim Crest street
Difficulty: Moderate (combined)

Almost any hike is going to be a let down after Mt. Whitney, and this is not a visually stunning hike, but it was a good way to ease back into the non-epic hiking world. These two peaks in Chino Hills are near the bottom of the Sierra Club lower peaks list, neither rising to 2000'. Parking is free in a residential neighborhood on the corner of Rim Crest and Blue Gum in Yorba Linda. Use your favorite mapping program for directions. These regional parks usually have a maze of intersecting trails, but I didn't bother to print one for Chino Hills. I just loaded the GPS track from Patrick O'Neill, downloaded from, and figured it would be good enough to find the major junctions.

Because I arrived at 8:30, I had to park a few streets before Blue Gum as cars from earlier park goers lined the right side of the street. I had no trouble getting started down the South Ridge Trail toward San Juan Hill. There is a modest gain at first, followed by rolling hills on a wide dirt road. I jogged most of the down hills since there was not much scenery. The clearly marked summit trail on the right came quickly and I made short work of it. Along with the hexagonal cement marker, there are two benchmarks on San Juan Hill, but I found no log.

Sign at trailhead

San Juan Hill summit trail

Hexagonal cement marker on San Juan Hill

Looking back from San Juan Hill summit

I only rested a few minutes on San Juan Hill before heading back toward Gilman Peak. The Little Canyon junction is the path toward Gilman and it immediately drops about 300' into Telegraph Canyon. I made a left on Telegraph Canyon, then almost an immediate right on the unmarked summit trail to Gilman. I enjoyed the trip to Gilman because it was more isolated and had a steeper finish. Gilman Peak had better views of the other local mountains although morning smog made everything hazy. I found a solar powered satellite antenna just below the peak. With this hike, I broke in some Vasque Mindbender trail runners and had started to develop a blister on my left little toe. I added some tape to the toe on Gilman and it was fine after that. When I was almost back down to Telegraph Canyon Trail, I spotted a coyote trotting along the trail. I was surprised he didn't see me. He paused on the side of the trail at one point, as three bikers stopped behind him to watch. After a few seconds, he decided to head back into the brush. I thought he looked a little scrawny and maybe was having a hard time catching the local rabbits and squirrels. I completed the loop by taking the Easy Street Trail back to my car.

Unmarked trail to Gilman Peak from Telegraph Canyon Trail

Approaching Gilman Peak

Gilman Peak

Gilman benchmark, placed by CA Division of Highways

San Gabriel Mountains from Gilman

Coyote on the Telegraph Canyon Trail

Coyote heading back into the brush

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