This was my first time on the Rivas Canyon Trail, and I really liked it! From Temescal Gateway I normally either hike the canyon or ridge trails to get up on top of the ridge to Skull Rock and beyond. But having done that the day before I decided to try Rivas Canyon which goes from Temescal Gateway to Will Rogers State Park. Trail starts out heading up the ridge on the East side of Temescal Canyon. The trail was cool and shady in the morning with lots of tall plants on both sides of the trail. First observation is that hardly anyone hikes this trail, unlike the other trails I normally take that have lots of people all the time (of course it probably helped that it was Monday).
After getting out of Temescal Canyon the trail runs on the South-facing slope above the large reservoir at the top of Chautauqua Blvd. Then it winds down the other side of the hill down to the bottom of Rivas Canyon with lots of switchbacks. The bottom of the canyon was very green and lush. Lots of poison oak everywhere too, so stay on the trail. There are several groves of trees, the first was sycamore trees, then a little farther down the trail a grove of oak trees, and finally a grove of eucalyptus trees. Everywhere was green, and it was pleasantly cool in the canyon. The trail goes behind some houses in the canyon before getting to the entrance of Will Rogers.
Will Rogers has stables and is very popular for horseback riding. I stayed on the main trails which are really big wide dirt roads that are designed to be easy for horses. Next time I do this I'll stay on the single track hiking trails instead. I hadn't been to Will Rogers since I was little, and I didn't want to get lost since I had an appointment to keep in the early afternoon. I followed the Inspiration Point Loop trail up to Inspiration Point which would have been more inspiring if there hadn't been so many flies. But the view was nice. It was a hazy day so it wasn't spectacular. From there back down the rest of the loop. Coming down from the point I passed the junction with the Backbone Trail and stayed right to head back down to Will Rogers. I was worried about time so I cut the loop short by taking the road through the stables which got me back to the bottom quickly.
On the way back to Temescal at the top of the ridge I was doing OK on time and decided to explore an unmarked spur trail that had stairs. I was only going to go for a few steps to see where it led, but decided to go a little farther and a little farther and before I knew it I had gone for 15 minutes and found myself at the top of a hill with a really nice view. From there the trail continued Northward along the ridge line on the East side of Temescal Canyon. I'll have to try that some other time because this time I had to get back. Back on the main trail just before starting the descent into Temescal Canyon there was another unmarked spur trail that I checked out briefly that looked like a shortcut up to the ridge line I had just been on.
I'm definitely going to do this again. This is a great trail that avoids the crowds on the main trails in the area.
When I get a little more time I'll post an official route and write up a description of this trail.
Lots of yellow wildflowers (mustard, black-eyed-susans, others) everywhere.