Nestled among the urban sprawl of eastern Los Angeles County, Walnut Creek Wilderness Park
burbles with a year-round stream flowing through a shady tree-lined canyon. Take a casual 2.5-mile stroll into the heart of this 60-acre preserve near San Dimas and discover a cool sanctuary on warm days. Starting from the parking lot on San Dimas Avenue, head down the Michael D. Antonovich Trail into the canyon as cottontails and lizards scamper underfoot. The quick descent flattens out along the canyon floor. Meander next to the creek and alongside exotic bright-green palms, coast live oaks, and sycamores. Songbirds love this forest, so your waterside walk may include a serenade. Rock-hop across the stream while following the path through the woods. After crossing a country road and an equestrian staging area, the trail rejoins the stream as it hits a natural rock dam and opens up into a small swimming hole (approximately 1 mile from where you started). Rope swings line the banks, but the water level is currently too low for a soft landing. With the sun dappling through the trees onto the leaf-carpeted ground, this is a perfect place to pause and cool your feet. Spread a picnic blanket and relax under the canopy before heading back the way you came.
TIP: Round out the day in nearby historic downtown San Dimas. Its wooden sidewalks and storefronts look straight out of a Hollywood western. Sweet Savory Cafe & Bakery (138 W. Bonita Avenue) has a melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake brownie.
From the 210 or 10 freeways, take CA-57 to exit 22 for Via Verde. Turn right onto San Dimas Ave. After 1 mile, look for the dirt parking lot and trailhead signage on your left. Here is a map. Free parking. Bikes allowed. Sweet Savory Cafe & Bakery is open Sunday–Monday 9:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m., Tuesday–Friday 7:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m., and Saturday 9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Walnut Creek Wilderness is dog-friendly!