Hiking Marshall Canyon Trail Loop

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  • Marshall Canyon Trail is located in La Verne, CA. Click here for directions.
  • From the 210, exit Fruit street and go north. Take a left on Baseline, then a right on Esperanza. Esperaza will hook at the base of the golf course. Follow this curve then turn right onto Stephens Ranch Rd. Follow Stephens Ranch Rd past the golf course until you see the signs for Marshall Canyon. There are a few designated spots for parking at an area called “The Point”. The point is a large dirt lot.
  • From “The Point” continue walking east on Stephens Ranch Rd to reach the trailhead for the Fred M Palmer Equestrian area.
  • Download GPX

Key Points:

  • Distance 4.4 Miles
  • Elevation Gain 790 ft
  • Minimum Elevation 1815
  • Maximum Elevation 2448
  • Time 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Difficulty Beginner
  • Dog Friendly Yes
  • Permit Required No

Maps and Elevation:

Marshall Canyon Loop Hike Elevaton

Hike Description:

The trailhead to hike the Marshall Canyon Loop begins on a dirt road just off of Stephens Ranch Rd. There is a large dirt lot called “The Point” which is just off of Stephens Ranch Rd as your approach the trail. Every not and again the gate will be open and you can park right at the trailhead. If you park at the point, continue walking east on Stephens Ranch Rd until you see a few wooden posts in the ground and a locked yellow gate.

Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Parked At The Trailhead
Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
The Trail Starts Past The Gate

Just beyond the yellow gate the dirt road continues alongside a wood post fence. Follow this for about 100 yards and you will run right into the trailhead. When you see the signage for ‘Fred M. Palmer Equestrian Camping and Training Facility’ veer left and you’ll come upon a fork in the road. This is the start of the loop for Marshall Canyon Trail. You can take it clockwise or counterclockwise. The clockwise route is a little more shaded, less exposed, and less steep which makes it a good options in warmer weather. I did this hike clockwise and the rest of this guide will follow that path.

Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Trailhead Sign
Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Left Or Right

Taking a left at the initial fork, you’ll soon see an option for another fork. Stay to the right and follow the wider road path. I explore the fork on the left and it looks like it runs right up the ridge towards the Sunset Ridge Truck Trail. I’m going to return to find out soon. The Marshall Canyon Trail is pretty level and even includes some nice downhill sections during the first half mile.

Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
A View Of The Other Side Of The Loop
Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
On The Trail

After about a mile of hiking the trail grade starts to increase and you’ll find yourself inching upwards towards the hills that stand before you. You’ll see a few Marshall Canyon Trail signs that can be confusing. There are two trail forks that allow hikers and bikers to cut across the loop to the other side. Skip these and continue on the wide road, avoiding the single track deviations. The winding fireroad will continue upwards until it finally breaks free from the overhead foliage and provides some really nice views of the Inland Empire below.

Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
First Views Of The Inland Empire

Just when you get your first views of the Inland Empire, the trail makes a short trip back downhill towards a shaded camping and picnic area. If you’re planning on bringing lunch along for this hike, I’d highly suggest these park benches.

Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
A Nice Place To Stop

After leaving the shade of the park benches behind, the trail climbs upward once again, this time crossing in to Claremont Wilderness Park. I have a different write up for Claremont Wilderness Park if you’d like to try that hike that starts in the foothills of Claremont. The Marshall Canyon Loop shares a small section of trail with the Claremont Wilderness Park loop. Continue towards the Claremont Wilderness sign post and walk around the yellow gate at the top of the climb.

Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Claremont Wilderness Park
Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Claremont Wilderness Boundary

Once you’ve passed the the Claremont Wilderness gate, take a right hand turn to continue the loop. You’ll head uphill before seeing the iconic gazebo that looks down over the Inland Empire. This is another great place to stop for a break. The views here are pretty tough to beat.

Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Approaching The Gazebo
Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
A Great Place To Rest

After leaving the gazebo, you’ll need to vigilant, as it’s pretty easy to miss the turn off for Marshall Canyon and continue on the Claremont Wilderness trail. A few hundred yards from the gazebo, you’ll see a three way junction. It’s marked by a trail sign warning of mountain lions next to a yellow post. Turn right here on the trail that makes a bit of a U turn.

Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Claremont Wilderness Park
Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Approaching The Junction

After making the turn back onto Marshall Canyon Trail, the grade increases for a nice uphill climb before leveling out and heading downhill. It’s important to stay vigilant on this stretch of trail, as there is a fork junction that you’ll need to stay left at.

Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Heading Downhill

After staying left at that first fork junction the trail climbs up a hill via a fireroad and offers up what I think are the nicest views of the entire hike. From this vantage point you can see the Inland Empire all the way to Santiago Peak, and right below you get a birds eye view of La Verne.

Marshall Canyon Trial Hike Loop Hike Hiking
The Final Uphill

Try not to get too mesmerized by the views or you’ll miss the final trail junction like I did. Once you get up over the hill shown in the last photo, you’ll drop down and see a fork in the road. To the left you’ll see a fire road, and to the right you’ll see a trail bordering on single track. I went left without paying attention, but quickly realized I was on the wrong path as the fire road was overgrown with shrubs and grass. I backtracked and took a proper direction at the junction. I should have had my eyes up and followed the Marshal Canyon Trail sign for that one.

Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Stay To The Right
Marshall Canyon Trail Loop Hike Hiking
Turn Right At The Sign

After that final junction the trail weaves downhill on some pretty smooth ground before meeting back up with the main trail in front of the parking lot. This was a really nice hike and one I’m sure I’ll be back to try again soon. I hope you enjoyed this short hiking guide. Feel free to leave me a comment with any thoughts or questions.


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31 thoughts on “Hiking Marshall Canyon Trail Loop”

  1. Thanks for the detailed hike report Drew. As many times as I’ve been to the Claremont Loop and Potato Mountain for conditioning, its hard to believe I’ve never been to Marshall Canyon. Now, with your guide safely tucked away in my Evernote app, I’ll know the route!

    • Thanks, James! I live in Claremont so I have no excuses! I should have done that write up a long time ago! It’s nice to mix in a Marshall Canyon hike with some extra mileage to Potato Mountain if you’re ever looking to hit a big day in this area.

      • Ahoy Drew! Almost forgot to get back to you after hiking this trail. Your hike report definitely helped a friend and I get around the Marshall Canyon Loop. But we got confused about where to start. Your directions seem to lead to the Point as the starting point. So that’s where we parked. We didn’t realize we needed to walk down the road to the Fred Palmer Equestrian Center to start the hike. So we hiked down a trail from the Point and ended up in Middle Marshall Canyon. We eventually got to the Fred Palmer starting point, with a little help from various mountain bikers pointing out the way, It was an interesting addition for sure. But next time, we’ll start at Fred Palmer. 🙂

      • Hey James! Thanks for the feedback on the starting point. I need to clarify that if you park up at the point, you need to walk down towards the Fred Palmer Equestrian Center. Thankfully the mountain bikers were there for your trip!

  2. This is one of my favorite trails but I’m curious, do you know where Marshall Canyon Peak is? Also did you ever go back and go up to sunset ridge?

  3. Just did this hike today…..great little workout as I needed just a quick 5 miler…. I am sure we missed a few turns but thankfully I had downloaded the ALL Trails map and we got back fine. Spotted a little fox as he was munching on what looked like a squirrel and came across a tarantula hawk. Lots of bugs out and the poison oak is rampant so be careful. All in all a great little jaunt and I would go back to do it again.

  4. Thanks for sharing! This seems like a great way to extend my Claremont Wilderness hikes beyond their typical 7 miles…

  5. Omg. Headed out for an easy 5 miler…got totally lost after the gazebo. Ended up hiking about 10 miles. Ended up on the other side of the Equestrian center…on the wrong side of the reservoir..,took us forever to figure out how to get back to the car at the point. Fortunately the parking area wasn’t locked..at 8:30 pm….and we were able to drive out. My Fitbit tells me this 5 miler turned into about 12 miles all told.
    My feet are tired. Just wore sneakers…expecting a little 5 miler. Word to the wise. The signs are NO HELP. It’s easy to get lost. FYI we are avid seasoned hikers…didn’t feel like it today.

    • It sounds like you passed up the turn for Marshall Canyon after the gazebo and continued on to Johnson Pasture. I’ve actually done that route on a trail run. Your fitbit is pretty accurate. I provide a map and GPX data for this reason. As you mentioned, signage is sparse, and it is very easy to take the wrong road. I’m glad you were able to make it back to your car!

  6. Never done Marshall Canyon. I heard you can get lost. I will be taking your detailed instructions along. I love your blog. I have read several different hikes that you have posted. Thank you for posting all the hikes.

  7. Thanks for the detailed post about this hike! We used your information (and photos) to guide us today & they were very helpful. We were a bit confused after parking at “the point” as to where the trailhead was, but your info about staying on the dirt road with wood post fence helped us figure it out. The hike was beautiful! We saw two huge does as an added bonus. You didn’t mention the Antononovich memorial bench where the MC trail splits into Cobalt Canyon trail. I’m assuming you wrote the post before they put it there. It’s a good marker/place for people to decide whether to continue up into the Claremont wilderness park or take an alternative narrow path (marked Marshall Canyon) back down to where the trail begins. We loved that narrower downhill oak lined path & highly recommend it.
    Thanks again for helping us discover this picturesque hike!

    • I’m glad you found this guide useful. It can be a challenge to find the correct path to the trailhead from the parking area. I need to go back and do this hike again to document the trail split near the Antonovich bench. Thanks for the reminder!

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