Within the sprawling urban landscape of greater Los Angeles sits a California state park that flies under the radar of not only most tourists but also many Southern California residents. Located in the Chino foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains, Chino Hills State Park represents a critical connection in the Chino-Puente Hills wildlife corridor. A wide variety of animal species migrate through Chino Hills to avoid the wildfires that typically blaze during summer and late fall. As a significant botanical habitat, the park is the ideal spot for botanists from area colleges and universities to perform research.
Evolution of a State Park
At the end of the 1970s, the California legislature enacted a resolution to explore the acquisition of land adjacent to Chino Hills for the establishment of a state park. A push back by environmental groups delayed the start of the project, but eventually, both sides agreed to a compromise that preserved the ecological integrity of the area, while providing visitors with an opportunity to get away from it all in a large urban area. The State Park and Recreation Commission designated the area as Chino Hills State Park in 1984
Chino Hills State Park spans more than 14,000 acres. Thick grassy, rolling hills run about 31 miles between Whittier Hills and the Santa Ana Mountains. The park sits 10 miles northwest of Corona at the intersection of Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties. Visitors from the three counties and beyond have quick access to amenities in cities such as Yorba Linda and Riverside. The rolling landscape offers visitors spectacular views at the top of hills, especially the brilliant sunsets lowering beyond the mountains.
With more than 60 miles of trails, Chino Hills State Park offers hiking options for visitors of all skill levels. The longer hikes require plenty of planning to ensure hikers remain hydrated throughout the day. Shorter hikes feature flora that makes the park special Located in the chaparral and woodlands ecoregion of the California Floristic Province, Chino Hills State Park offers hikers views of remnant native grass stands. California sycamore, coast live oak, and California black walnut represents the dominant trees inside the park.
Hiking is not the only recreation activity. Visitors have an opportunity to enjoy viewing the natural beauty on horseback. Mountain bike trails run deep into valleys, as well as reaching some of the tallest hills in the area. Although most of the trails are labeled multiple mode uses, a few trails are exclusively for hikers to protect the flora and fauna habitats. An historic barn offers insight into what life was like before the area attracted settlers.
The entrance to Chino Hills State Park is at 4721 Sapphire Road. Park hours between October and March run from 8 AM until 5 PM seven days per week. During the peak tourist season from April through September, Chino Hills State Park stays open an additional two hours. Our guests reach the park by taking Interstate 210 east and then California State Highway 57 south. Near the junction with Interstate 10, California State Highway 71 runs southeast towards Chino Hills State Park.