The Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve contains a series of hiking trails in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains just above Monrovia proper. There are approximately 4.5 miles of hiking trails in the Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve. It is hilly terrain, so any hike here will have its ups and downs.... literally. The hike we did was a short out-and-back hike from the Ridgeside Drive Trailhead to the lookout point. This was a fun easy-to-moderate hike in the lower foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. There were great views along the way and plenty of evidence of wildlife who inhabit this area. The only downside is the Ridgeside Drive Trailhead is difficult to find from the road and signage for the hiking trails in the Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve is limited.
Directions to Ridgeside Drive Trailhead: To get to the trailhead to hike to the viewpoint in the Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve, from the 210 freeway, exit Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia and head towards the San Gabriel Mountains. Travel through old town Monrovia and then make a right onto Foothill Boulevard. In 4 short blocks, turn left onto Canyon Boulevard. Once you're heading north on Canyon Boulevard, in 0.7 miles, make a left onto Ridgeside Drive. Park at the location of Ridgeside Drive and the Lower Clamshell Road/Trail. Unfortunately, there is no signage for the hiking trail on Ridgeside Drive, so it is possible to drive past the location like we did at first. The trail signage is up the road past the easement for the private residences. There is no cost for parking. The preserve is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Below is a picture of what the entry gate to the trailhead looks like.
Description of Hike: This is an out-and-back hike to the lookout in the Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve. It is a 2.5-mile round-trip out-and-back hike with approximately 600 feet of elevation gain. The hiking trail is along a dirt fire road for most of the way. Once you enter the Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve the views only continue to get better the higher up the hiking trail you go! There is limited shade on this hike, so if you go during hot sunny weather make sure to be prepared with enough water and sunscreen. The hike is a gradual uphill the entire way to the viewpoint. Once you get close to the top there is a sign indicating the side trail that breaks off to get to the viewpoint. At the top, you have views all the way to downtown Los Angeles, a majority of the San Gabriel Mountains, and can see as far as the Santa Ana Mountains in Orange County. Dogs are allowed on the hiking trails in the Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve, so long as they are on a leash. If you take your dog, please note that black bears are regularly seen in this area of Monrovia (you may want to carry bear spray when hiking here). There is no running water along the hiking trail.
Further Thoughts: Ashley and I enjoyed our hike to the top of view point in the Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve. We only saw one additional group of hikers while out on this hiking trail. We saw a couple of small snakes while on our hike and saw about 5 deer while on the hike. We also saw evidence of bear tracks in one location along the hiking trail. This was a fun quick hike that we were able to do near our home in Monrovia and we look forward to returning here soon!
The Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve was created in 2000 when the citizens of Monrovia voted to establish the wilderness park in the foothills north of the city. More than a decade and a half later, following various legal maneuverings and negotiations with neighboring homeowners, the final of four access points opened up, making the entire 1,416-acre park available for public use. There are four access points to the Hillside Wilderness Preserve that are open from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday - Sunday: Sleepy Hollow - Located off Norumbega Drive (West of Starlit Lane), Ridgeside - Located off Ridgeside Drive, 1/4 mile north of Briarcliff Drive, Cloverleaf - Located at the end of Cloverleaf Drive and Highland - Located at the end of Highland Place.
Further Education & Hiking Tools: For those looking for more reading on hikes or landmarks in the area, Amazon has several books that you can purchase (and yes, we do earn a small commission from any sale, but that is what funds this website so we appreciate any purchase using our links) Check out the following maps and books Monrovia California USA America Vintage Map, Angeles National Forest Map, Trails of the Angeles: 100 Hikes in the San Gabriel, or if you need a new insect repellant to use on your hikes that works well check out Sawyer Products SP564 Premium Insect Repellent with 20% Picaridin, Lotion or if you need bear spray to carry when hiking here you might want to check out SABRE Frontiersman 9.2 oz. Bear Spray, Maximum Strength 2.0% Major Capsaicinoids, Powerful 35 ft. Range Bear Deterrent or a Bear Bell with Magnetic Silencer.
Rating: Elevation Gain: 600 (Moderate), Distance: 2.5 miles Roundtrip depending on the trail (Easy).
Time to Complete Hike: 1.5 hours.
Time to Complete Hike: 1.5 hours.