26-1 Eaton Canyon Nature Center to Henninger Flats

Participants: Craig Cheetham, Phillip Cheetham and Tom Chester
Date: 7 August 1996 (Written up 24 September 1996)

Robinson's hike 26 starts from Pinecrest Avenue in Altadena, but the residents of that road have succeeded in placing their interests above the interests of the public and caused parking restrictions to be placed along Pinecrest. In addition, the gate at the entrance to the Toll Road is never guaranteed to be as open as it once was. Therefore this hike starts at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center off of Altadena Drive, just north of New York Drive in Altadena.

This situation is all too common in California, where private interests convince government bodies to screw the public, since the public rarely has anyone who represents it and lobbies for it. It is very irritating when a long-held public right of way, which was of course known to exist when the private interests bought their land, gets eliminated in order to benefit the few.

The previous situation allowed hikers and bikers to use the Toll Road entrance, while the horsers used the Eaton Canyon entrance, keeping everyone pretty well separated. Now, in order to benefit the few people who live along Pinecrest, everyone is mixed together the whole way.

Starting at the Nature Center parking lot, go north and follow the bulldozed pathway that picks its way through the streambed, with one or two stream crossings before it becomes a bulldozed dirt road on the east side of the streambed. There is a path going to the right (east) fairly early, but it ends at a concrete structure, a well or something similar. Some people have charged uphill at that point, but the trail is quite steep and dangerous, and doesn't lead anyplace obvious.

The Eaton Canyon stream has always had water in it in the 15 years I have been hiking it, except today, which made the stream crossing very easy!

After about a half mile, you reach a sign to go right to get to Henninger Flats. (This trail used to be known as the horse trail before the Pinecrest residents screwed up things.) Taking that trail, you reach the Toll Road after another half mile, 1 mile from the parking lot. (If you didn't take the horse trail, you would reach the Toll Road at the bridge over Eaton Canyon. See hike 26-2 when I get around to writing it up.)

At the Toll Road, there is a marker pole on your right with indicating that it is 1.7 miles to Henninger Flats, and 1 mile down to the beginning of the Toll Road. Before mountain bikes, those signs were notoriously inaccurate, and in fact were moved semi-regularly! They now are precise.

I got the round-trip mileage to be 5.15 miles, not much different than the usual start at the Toll Road, although that probably makes it longer by a half mile or so.

There are newly placed yellow poles along the side of the road which have numbers on them which indicate how many feet from the pole to the new telephone cable that has been newly buried near the center of the road. The ranger told us that when the cables were put in, the electrical power to the museum was cut and not restored by the cable-layers! They did at least put in another phone line for the ranger office.

Explanation of columns for all trip logs

Recording numberMileageTime arrivedTime leftAltitudeComments
00.005:03900Eaton Canyon Nature Center parking lot
10.255:09900Return to car since I had wrong hat on!
20.705:191000Junction with horse trail - took it.
31.255:351500Junction Toll Road "1 mile down, 1.7 miles up". Took Toll Road up.
42.006:002050Marker: "2 miles down, 0.7 mile up".
52.706:186:472400Henninger Flats Visitor Center, by Ranger Station. Flies are OK today.
85.357:51900back at car.

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Copyright © 1996, 1997 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 18 June 1997.