Annual Christmas Eve Morning Clamshell Run
Last update December 26, 2016
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Clamshell Gate Ridgeside Parking Sign 2016 Christmas Eve Morning Dec. 24thRun - New and Improved
The City of Monrovia has changed and improved the Clamshell trail now known as the Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve. But with that there are new restricted parking signs up on Ridgeside Dr., the street we parked on at the Clamshell Trail Head, and Oakglade Dr. Park now on N. Canyon Blvd. below Ridgeside Dr. and walk up the 4/10 mile to the trail head. Plan on parking before 7:40am to walk up Ridgeside Dr. to the trail head for the traditional group photo at 7:55am.

Clamshell trophy This event has has been a club tradition since 1982 where Bill and Sandy Johnson, owners of the Arcadia Loeschorns running store gave everyone a trophy. Students Run LA and other clubs have joined us over the years. Most years we have been treated to the spectacular views and good weather (however, you may want to bring long sleeve shirts and gloves at the start just in case). Please keep voices down at the start so as not to disturb the neighbors after you park and until you pass the first gate on the trail. No excitable dogs please.

Runners have the choice of going out and back for 8 miles round trip, out until the first fast runner passes you coming back or walkers out 1 hour and turn around. Bob Spears starts early and marks all the turns with flour arrows. There is also Jenny's 5.3 mile loop if you don't mind coming back on the street. A Snails Pace runs this loop starting at 6am on the third Wednesdays.

elevation Profile

Directions MapA new gate was put up at the entrance to the trail that is open from 6am to 9pm. Last year we had to deviate from our usual route down past the house with the dogs and take the new Coyote Trail switchbacks to avoid them. This year we must avoid the second house which is just past the bottom of the Coyote trail, stay right and go up hill on the fire break Ridge Trail. The Ridge Trail does get steep before it drops down to rejoin the old Clamshell Truck Trail. Here we turn left and go up to the hairpin. The trail turns off to the right down a new dirt road that ends up at the Cloverleaf gate for the turn around. Wear good ground grippers.

Directions: From the 210 go north on Myrtle to Hillcrest. Turn right on Hillcrest (recognize it from our Wednesday night run)? Turn left on N. Canyon. N. Canyon continues to the right as you intersect with Scenic. Park on Canyon just before Ridgeside. Plan to park no later than 7:40am. Walk up Ridgeside 4/10 mile to the trail head which is up a driveway at the south end of the tall bushes at 873 Ridgeside. Please keep voices down until you pass the 2 houses on the trail and go through the gate.

After the run, join us at the Nano Cafe, 441 W. Duarte Rd in Monrovia for brunch about 11am. The back room is reserved for us.

Nature lovers should check out the Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve Interpretive guide.

Clamshell ariel map When you reach the Clamshell Truck Road at the bottom of the fire break Ridge trail, you have a choice to turn right and complete the old route to the Wilderness Park turnaround fence or down to the top of the dam before turning around, or turn left and go up to the Hairpin. If you still want more, take the new dirt road trail on the right down to the Cloverleaf Gate turnaround and come back up the "experienced" switchback trail to the hairpin junction.

It is not unusual to see deer on the trail.

Clamshell deer

Clamshell group start pix

bear pole 2007bear pole 2008
At the top of the hill check the telephone pole for bear hairs - scroll down to the photo below. Sampson loved to scratch on this pole after swimming in a residents pool; the brown hairs are the bears, the grey ones are Tom's.


Fresh bear track going up the side of the hill just after the scratching pole.


You cant miss the well marked start of the new Coyote Trail at the top of the hill.


The Overlook from the top of the Coyote trail looking south. This view spot is worth the stop before continuing down the 17 switchbacks.


The switchbacks on the new Coyote trail segment on the Clamshell trail are steep going down.


They are steep coming back up too.


Are Karen and Jan the new Monrovia Park Rangers or about to steal the truck?


The fast runners watch and wait at the finish for the slower ones.


Students Run LA group enjoys their food rewards after doing the Clamshell Trail with us.



The Hairpin is well marked with signage to keep hikers on trail and from going on the "no access" portion of the Clamshell Truck Trail.


The new Cloverleaf section has a split for "experienced" trail users that has some steep switchbacks and single track vs. dirt road.


Plaque embedded in a rock at the bottom of the Cloverleaf trail dedicates the new Monrovia Hillside Wilderness Preserve.

Trail map "You Are Here" signs like this one on the right are placed at key locations. This one is at the Cloverleaf Trail Head. The trail head is at 600 Cloverleaf Dr. across from Hidden Valley Ave, but parking is also restricted here as is the Ridgeside Trail Head. If you want to start a run here, you can park on Cloverleaf Dr. before Lotone St. on Cloverleaf Dr., Heather Heights Ct. or Scenic Dr. From Hillcrest, go north one block on Alta Vista Ave. and turn left.

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At the Cloverleaf gate you can turn around to come back the way you came, or pass through and come back Jenny's Loop with a shortcut on the streets.


You could hit nothing but deadends and be lost forever if you did not know of the closed street at 52 Hidden Valley Ave that goes through to Alta Vista. The pedestrian pass through is on the left side of the gate.


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