Well, That Was a Short Hike

March 2019 Hiking


The tale

Aquinas is not Spanish for “barely.” But that was my first impression of the Aquinas Trail in El Sereno OSP. The trailhead was a gate where the paved road turned to a rocky jeep road. No maps or literature, just the usual mountain lion warning, a gate, and two yapping dogs in a nearby residence. Parking was a patch of dirt wide enough for three cars.

To reach the park, I’d driven through a rain shower on the twisting Montevina Road. The rain was down to a drizzle when I arrived, and I decided to take my chances. It mostly worked. Intermittent rain fell half my time on the trail.

Aquinas trail is a rocky jeep road
A crunchy jeep road called Aquinas Trail.

Most of the Aquinas Trail is exposed to the elements, especially to the south. A hike at summertime hike would require water, but today water wasn’t a problem.

Having few trees gives the trail its highlight: frequent southeastern views of the Lexington Reservoir, which was swollen after weeks of rain.

the Lexington Reservoir and surrounding hills on a sunny day
A view of the Lexington Reservoir.

The hillsides had patches of poison oak, mostly green with a few bits of red left over from last autumn.

poison oak was common in the shade
Poison oak, sometimes red, was frequent in the shady areas.

The trail meandered gently downhill as I walked east. Conscious of the time, turned back at the junction of Aquinas and Loma Vista trails.

For next time

  • Parking is limited to a patch of dirt beside the road, maybe wide enough for three cars. Plan to carpool or arrive early.
  • Bring water and sunscreen, especially in hot weather.
  • Don’t expect much of a challenge, but possibly some determined cyclists.