Cucamonga Canyon, popular Rancho Cucamonga hiking area, could soon reopen to the public after 11-year closure

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. (KABC) — A popular hiking area north of Rancho Cucamonga that has been closed for more than a decade could soon reopen to the public.

Cucamonga Canyon was closed by the U.S. Forest Service in 2013, after social media posts about the area brought throngs of people. It prompted rescues and even fatalities. The trail was vandalized with graffiti, and the crowds and parked cars caused clogged streets in the area.

But the city of Rancho Cucamonga has secured $2.6 million in state and federal funding to purchase more than 120 acres of private land to build a new trail system and a parking lot to get people safely into the area.

“I think it’s a wonderful wilderness area back there,” said Rancho Cucamonga resident Paul Beardsley, who was jogging on one of the trails. “And the more people who can experience it the better.”

According to the city of Rancho Cucamonga, the project aims to provide a safe pathway for visitors and first responders to get into the wilderness area that has been closed by the Forest Service.

Jennifer Camacho, a spokesperson for the city, said plans include the development of a trailhead and trail leading to the existing federal access road.

But not everyone is excited about the plan.

“I think by opening it up, it might create a little bit of havoc, maybe for the local people,” said bicyclist Joe Ponce.

In fact, residents who live in the neighborhood immediately below the proposed trailhead have real concerns about reopening Cucamonga Canyon to the public.

“A lot of people are concerned about the parking issues, people coming up here, leaving trash and staying overnight,” said Tatiana Fakhoury, who lives on Skyline Drive.

But others said such a beautiful, peaceful location should be open to the public to enjoy.

“It’s kind of amazing how isolated it is out here,” said Beardsley.

The city is still in negotiations to purchase the land for the project. Camacho said if everything goes as planned, completion is anticipated for 2025.

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