Dan's Hiking Pages: Hikes in the San Gabriels and Beyond
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Garcia Trail
(The Foothill Trails Past and Present)
By William B. Cullen

The first large and durable trails were most likely developed during the mission days when the San Gabriel Mission used Indian vaqueros to watch over its cattle. Historian Donald Pfluenger speculates that there were probably many cattle trails through the valley leading to the springs along the foothills.

Mexican independence from Spain brought about the secularization of mission lands. When Englishman Harry Dalton arrived in the valley, he was able to purchase a portion of the San Jose Rancho, which included what is now Glendora. Cattle, horse, and sheep roamed the area, and probably continued to use the cattle trails to the foothill springs.

In 1868, the rancho land was declared government land. Soon after, homesteaders began to arrive in the area. Some of our historic trails bear names of these early settlers who owned or lived on the property in the foothills.

The most westerly north-south trail is known as Garcia, or Mexican Canyon. This trial starts at the Los Angeles County Fire number 97, and continues to the top of the ridge. It is thought to have been built, originally, by a man named Garcia, who lived in a small house under the eucalyptus tree in the canyon just west of the fire station. Most likely, he worked for Azusa Foothill Ranch or the NcNeil family, owner of the property.

The Garcia Trail was used for access to the top of the ridge by the U.S. Forest Service prior to the construction of the Glendora Ridge Fire Road. Later, it was turned over to the Los Angeles County Fire Department, which used the trail for a department communications line coming down to the fire station from the top of the ridge, which is no longer in use today and since has been taken down.

Today, Garcia Trail is used by hikers, naturalists, and physical fitness enthusiasts from all over the San Gabriel Valley. The trail runs through the boundaries of the cities of Azusa and Glendora and the U.S. Forest Service.

Certain portions of the trail are somewhat strenuous compared to some of the other trails along the foothills, and areas of the trail sometimes are in need of restoration due to vegetation growth and erosion.

Hiking and Riding Trails of the Glendora Area:
Past, Present, and Future

By William B. Cullen

The above text was taken from the trailhead display at Garcia Trail. The text content of the display is no longer there. The display indicated that it was sponsored by the Glendora Community Conservancy, but the folks there know nothing of it. A new trailhead and displays are part of the plans with the Rosedale housing development.

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This page was last updated June 10, 2006.