There are several dog-friendly trails in Whittier but Whittier is too hot during summer for Xena (for me too!) so the trails in the area have been on my Winter Hike wishlist for a while. The trailhead of Hellman Wilderness Park should’ve been easy to find if Alltrails.com had the right location pinned but instead GPS took me to a cul de sac in some residential area. I fixed it on Alltrails.com. 🙂 After studying the trail map more closely, I drove to the correct trailhead about a mile away from where we were.
We arrived around 8:30 am and it was already crowded. Oh no! Apparently, this was a popular spot. I also noticed as I was walking toward the trailhead that people were dressed more for a workout than hiking. Not a good sign. “I have a feeling that we are not going to do much of exploring on this hike, Z”. Xena looked up at me sensing my premature disappointment but her tail was still wagging with excitement for just being out and about. “Yea, you are right.. this is still better than the weekdays.”
The trail system is simple in Hellman Wilderness so you can’t get lost even if you want to.. You’ll know what I mean if you keep reading. The first mile is all uphill and it’s a pretty good workout with a panoramic view of the city. It was the only interesting and good part of the hike.
I tried to find trails with less foot traffic but there wasn’t any. Instead, we kept getting stuck behind extremely slow hikers or a group of people taking up the whole width of the trail and surrounded by people who were playing music loudly on their phones. It made me want to blog about hiking and trail etiquette. I think they are common sense but sadly, not everyone is considerate of others in reality. For example, if a hiker behind you is moving faster than you, you move to the side and let that person pass you.
Side Fire Road connects with other fire roads and trails that lead to Sycamore Park, Turnbull Canyon and Hacienda Hills nearby. Since there are no tall trees or bushes, you can see all the trails nearby and the neighboring parks when you are on the top of the hills. After this experience though, I’m no longer interested in exploring other trails in the neighborhood. This is a good place to go if you live close by and want to get a hill workout in. That’s about it. Dogs are allowed but with no shade at all, I don’t think it is “dog-friendly” either.
Off to the next trail on my Winter Hike list! Wish me luck!
Good to Know:
- Distance: 4 miles RT with options to extend
- Hellman Park Trail was closed as of 11/15/2014.
- No restroom
- Parking spaces are available at the trailhead and free street parking available as well.