Major League Dreams
Hike North Etiwanda Preserve at the foot of the San Gabriels
With the 2020 World Series underway, right off the bat we recognize that it’s hard work for players to make it to the “big show.” Visit one of the Dodgers’ minor league stadiums, in Rancho Cucamonga, after taking in a bit of the city’s history and natural beauty on a 3.25-mile (round-trip) hike through the North Etiwanda Preserve at the foot of the San Gabriels.
Park in the designated gravel lot at the end of Etiwanda Drive and find the trailhead behind the gate at the north end of the parking area. Take a picture of the map, which notates all the interpretive sites you will visit, before starting on the gradually ascending dirt trail. You’ll shortly reach a kiosk overlooking the valley that not only provides shade (be prepared and plan accordingly: this hike is exposed!), but multiple signs detailing the history, flora, and fauna of the preserve.
As you begin the climb (elevation gain is over 500 feet), you will pass the remnants of a water delivery system before you reach a three-way junction. The trail ascending north heads to the primary reason folks come here—the falls—and the path to the left continues your loop. First, head right to check out a Native American interpretive site. Return to the loop and keep west, eventually passing a surprise riparian environment and a bridge that leads you to yet another site, this time early settler ruins (and another great spot for a break).
The trail continues northwest, with clear views of the towering peaks—the most prominent is, of course, Mount Baldy, the highest peak in LA County. Pass interpretive signs detailing the agricultural history and an antique pumping station. Soon the trail sharply turns to the south as you pass a dam; straight ahead is a panoramic viewing area, which boasts two pine trees and an incredibly expansive view of the valley. Helpful signs also point out landmarks in each direction! When you’re ready, return to the trail, which descends quickly (look for a cool boardwalk viewing area) and eventually turns left, taking you back to the lot.
Bonus Wine & Baseball: Now it’s time to do a local stop before taking yourself out to the ballgame. We know beer goes with baseball, but continue your historical tour of the Cucamonga Valley with a stop at Joseph Filippi Winery. One hundred years ago, the valley used to be a haven for vineyards, and the staff here can teach you about the interesting history while pouring you a large variety of local wine. We like the White Mourvèdre and Sangiovese (red) for sipping at their charming outdoor patio spaces. You can also walk around the grounds and check out their creative planting of vineyards before heading to the nearby ballpark.
Park at the adjacent strip mall (the lot is closed during the off-season though there is some street parking) and walk a few hundred feet south to LoanMart Field—you can’t miss the big lights and stadium scoreboard. Take time to explore the grounds or even play some catch outside of the stadium that hosts the Single-A (minor league) Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, whose roster once boasted current Dodger all-stars Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager (look for their pictures!). Major league dreams do come true.
To get to the North Etiwanda Preserve lot and trailhead, take the I-210 to the Day Creek Blvd. exit and head north. After 1 mile, take a right on Wilson and after 0.5 mile, turn left onto Etiwanda Ave. The lot and trailhead are at the end of the road. No dogs.
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