Placerita Canyon Loop


The temperature was going to be in the 80s so Xena sat out on this hike. You go without me, she avoided my eye contact and got settled into her comfy bed as I was getting ready that morning. It was still dark outside. Maybe we can go to the park when you get back, she looked up with sleepy eyes. She is not a morning dog.

It was my first time in Placerita Canyon Nature Center and I was not disappointed. The parking lot was practically empty around 7:30 am. We started out on the Hillside trail from the main trailhead and met up with the Manzanita Mtn trail.

On Manzanita Mtn Trail, my fear of heights was challenged once again.

The second half of this hill is very steep. If you are afraid of heights, don’t look back. Just focus on your footing…one step at a time.
First 2.7 miles of incline without shade.  Great view.

Then, the scenery changed. Tall trees on the Los Pinetos trail provided some shades and the trail became narrow.

I can’t believe mountain bikes are allowed on this part of the trail. Watch out. In the higher section of the trail, we encountered tiny bugs. Since Ferencz and Jackie were leading us, they had to fight the bugs for us. 😉

Picture break with my sis
Los Pinetos Trail
Los Pinetos Trail

Los Pinetos Trail eventually meets Canyon Trail. Turn left here if you want to go back to the trailhead or turn right if you want to go to the waterfall trail. From here to the trailhead, which is about 2 miles away, the Canyon Trail is flat and provided an interesting nature walk. The trail was more popular with families and dog walkers.


The nature center was open when we got back to the parking lot. It has a little zoo inside. It can be a cool place for a birthday party for kids.

Good to Know:

  • Hike Date:  3.29.2015
  • Distance: 7 miles RT
  • Elevation Gain:  1,678 feet
  • Difficulty Rating:  Challenging
  • Dogs on leash
  • Restrooms available at the trailhead

Get Our Latest Comprehensive Dog-friendly Trail List Here. Enjoy!

Happy Hiking!

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7 comments on “Placerita Canyon Loop”

  1. WOw trailhead at 7:30 am! I am more of an afternoon hiker, but it doesn’t really get that warm here so that’s not an issue. Very nice scenery on the Pinetos Trail, and nice with some change in the scenery along the way. What is the bobbling white oil??

  2. I actually got up at 5 am that morning because I was excited about this hike! 😊

    Regarding the bubbling white oil, it’s translucent petroleum filtered by nature. It is supposed to burn longer and brighter. I found it interesting to know that early local residents could pour the oil directly into their Ford Model T and A card for fuel. When we passed by the pool, we could smell the petroleum.

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