Cucamonga Wilderness is the trail we took this week. It was a little breezy when we got there and we felt COLD! Hey--we're southern Californians, breezes are cold. We warmed up quickly once we started moving. It helps that this trail is pretty much all uphill and rocky. Definitely NOT stroller friendly.
A few basics to know before you go: NOT stroller friendly in any stretch of the wild imagination, There are two vault toilets, take them as they are, at the trail head. They only seem to smell downwind. NO water, be sure to bring your own. Adventure Pass required for parking. The trail also states online a free hiking permit is also required. I think this is a safety issue because once you get farther along the trail, it's open season in the wilderness...as in you can go anywhere-you are not restricted to the trails. We did not get one but I advise you do. There is a ranger station on Mt. Baldy Rd before the trail head--watch for it and check there.
This trail offered us creeptastic ratings on the adventure scale, thanks to quite a few abandoned and broken down cabins. How often do you get to climb and stand on a stone door frame, fireplace or window? Not to mention the fascinating imaginings of the tenants that used to occupy this space? We found rusted 50's style metal bed frames, old sinks, bath tubs, a refrigerator and weird open set-ups. The teens especially loved that. A few had all four half-walls, while others had only foundations and fireplaces left. There are also intact cabins, that are private property and have actual tenants. I do not recommend disturbing them. Be respectful of others property at all times.
The woods are absolutely gorgeous this time of year. Wonderful shades of orange all around, mixed with lush greens and dry whites. The kids found this lovely orange feather. We don't see orange birds very often. It was a nice find.
Here is an example of the trail...it gets rockier than this at times. There is a creek that runs along most of the trail that offers soothing sounds of running and splashing water and small water falls. We sat and ate lunch next to the water on our way back. Though this trail was short (1.6 miles) the miles are long and uphill. Expect to take more time than you think. Dress in layers. As we ate lunch, we cooled down quickly and were cold. There are shady and sunny parts of the trail. Right now for fall, it is much cooler than the temps we've been experiencing in suburbia.
I'd say this trail is fairly family friendly. You can stop at any time and admire the trees. We saw two bluejays, a small rattle snake (yes, we kept our distance!) at the trail head, and a few squirrels. The drive takes about an hour from our area, not much traffic and pretty much the same on the way back.