Turnbull Canyon is a loop trail located in Whittier and part of the Puente Hills Reserve. The cooler months during winter and fall are the perfect time to enjoy Turnbull Canyon, as they offer pleasant daytime temperatures and captivating views of the snow capped San Gabriels.
Directions And GPS Tracks:
- There are a few ways to arrive at the trailhead for Turnbull Canyon, so click the link below and use Google Maps to find the quickest route from your location. Parking can be a bit of a hassle on crowded days, as there isn’t a ton of available space on the road near the trailhead. For this reason, I advise you to arrive before 8AM. Click here for directions on Google Maps
- Download GPX
- See my track on Strava
- Distance: 5.2 miles (4.2 without the Skyline fire road addition)
- Elevation Gain: 884 ft
- Minimum Elevation: 544 ft
- Maximum Elevation: 1232 ft
- Time: 2-3 hours
- Difficulty: Beginner
- Dog Friendly: Yes, on leash
- Permit Required: No
- Season: Year Round
- Trail Condition: Well maintained fire road
Make sure to hike with the right gear. See my current hiking gear list.
Hike Map And Elevation Profile:
Below you’ll find a map and elevation profile for this hike of Turnbull Canyon. The main hike is a lollipop loop, but on this map you’ll see an out and back extension along the Skyline fire road (Rattlesnake Trail) that I’ve added. This is a great addition for unmatched views of Los Angeles.
The trailhead for the Turnbull Canyon Loop is located just off of Turnbull Canyon Rd. On the north side of the street you’ll see a parking area with a gated off section. The trail begins just behind the wooded and metal gates.
The first .7 miles follows Turnbull Canyon Trail with a very gradual 200ft of elevation gained.
At the end of the first .7 miles of hiking, you’ll see a junction that begins the loop. That is why I call this a lollipop loop. At this point you’ve already hiked the stick of the lollipop, and now it’s time to do the loop. My advice is to take a left hand turn onto Sumac Trail from Turnbull Canyon Trail to hike the loop in a clockwise fashion.
The Sumac Trail winds uphill on what begins as a broken asphalt fire road. The asphalt eventually gives way to dirt, and at 1.5 miles, meets up with the Skyline Dr fire road. You can take a right hand turn on Skyline Dr to continue the loop, or take a left hand turn (Rattlesnake Trail) towards a viewpoint hill for unbeatable views of Los Angeles and the San Gabriels. The trail junction on Skyline Dr is marked at Rattle Snake Trail. Follow this towards the viewpoint.
Up on the hill just past the Peppergrass Trail Junction you’ll be able to take in unbeatable views of Los Angeles and the Turnbull Canyon Trail network. You’ll also be able to see the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple, one of the largest temples in the Western Hemisphere.
Once you’ve taken in the views head back on Rattlesnake Trail/Skyline Dr and continue hiking on the loop due east. From here, you’ll have a short uphill hike towards a watertower covered in satellite dishes. At this point, you’ll have hiked 2.7 miles.
Head down the back side of the hill with the water tower and continue on Skyline Dr towards a series of transmission towers. Follow Skyline Dr until you see a gate up ahead at 3.2 miles into the hike. Make sure to stay vigilant here and take a sharp right just after passing the gate.
This is my favorite stretch of the Turnbull Canyon Loop hike, as the path turns into a single track trail and leaves the wide and dusty fire road behind. At 4.4 miles the you’ll complete the loop portion of this hike and see the Turnbull Canyon Trail with the junction of the Sumac trail that you took earlier. Take a left and finish the .7 mile stretch that leads back to the parking area.
I hope you enjoyed this hiking guide for Turnbull Canyon. Feel free to leave any questions or comments in the section provided below.
3 thoughts on “Hiking Turnbull Canyon Loop”
The pagoda in the picture is NOT Hsi Lai Temple; it’s part of Rose Hills Cemetery where ashes are kept in the urns stored in the pagoda.
i enjoyed following the pictures of the trail to give you assurance you are in fact going the correct way. I love hiking in all parts of California and hope to enjoy this trail our next trip out to California. Thanks.