- 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
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.