Schabarum Regional Park in Rowland Heights (eastern Los Angeles County) features a green-grass strip extending nearly a mile into the Puente Hills and lots of steep, brushy hillsides affording some great panoramas of the San Gabriel Valley and the San Gabriel Mountains. You'll probably share these views with hawks and ravens who ride the hillside thermals if you follow the five-mile looping hike outlined here. This is a great trip for Santa Ana days, when the dry, northeast winds sweep away the haze and smog that often blankets the L.A. Basin.
To get to Schabarum Park, exit the Pomona Freeway (Highway 60) at Azusa Avenue, go south alongside the Puente Hills Mall, turn left on Colima Road, then turn immediately right into Schabarum Park. Gates are open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. Park your car in any of the spacious lots (a parking fee is charged on weekends and holidays only), and start your hike on the signed Schabarum Trail. It begins near the entrance and twists and turns along dry, prickly-pear-covered slopes west of the park's long strip of green turf. At 0.8 mile you come to a split; the left branch goes over to an equestrian ring at the south end of the turf strip, while the right branch, your route, takes you up through dense chaparral toward the Puente Hills crest. The panorama below includes nearby subdivisions in Hacienda Heights, the linear City of Industry (which, it is manifestly clear, specializes in industry), and assorted other suburban sprawl stretching to the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. The beige (or white, if snow-capped) summit of Mount San Antonio, or Old Baldy, floats serenely above it all.
As you approach the ridgeline, you contour below an antenna-topped 1416-foot peak. A shortcut to the Skyline Trail is possible up and around this.
After 2.5 miles from the park entrance, bear left as you're approaching a water tower and antenna site served by a paved service road coming up from below. Follow the dirt road going east, which is the Skyline Trail. You climb some more, passing the 1416-foot peak, and then descend. To the south you look over the wooded community of La Habra Heights and across the coastal plains of Orange County.
After winding down a steep hillside, you reach a north-south dirt road in a saddle (3.8 miles). Go left and continue 0.7 mile down a draw to the equestrian ring. From there you can follow an asphalt walkway down the middle of the turf area to reach your parked car.