There's a pleasant little trail in a place called Evey Canyon accessible from a turnoff five minutes up the road to Mt. Baldy, although you need a permit from Pomona College of the Claremont Colleges to park there - they manage it as a preserve for their biology department, and do fieldwork there. However, if you don't mind a much longer hike - much of it relentlessly uphill - you can get there from the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, which has (grossly inadequate) public parking. It also has the benefit of being a much closer entry point to the path up Potato Mountain than from CHWP, but most people would enjoy its lower, fragrant riparian (riverside) environment.
One of my several disabling conditions is that I have a rotating sleep cycle, because it operates on more than 24 hours per day while I still sleep for a normal 7-8 hours per cycle - so as a result, I both go to sleep and wake up later every day. Remaining on a 24-hour schedule for any length of time is sheer torture, involves health-compromising medications, and is in the long-run physically impossible, so there are times when I want to go hiking that the schedule just isn't aligned for it. Like today: By the time I got to Evey Canyon, I had only two hours of daylight remaining, but it was still a worthwhile stroll. View from the trailhead, looking up Baldy Road and back into the valley:
The trail parallels a stream, but that's not a particularly impressive or visible feature of the area - rather, the trail itself and the trees surrounding it are the key attraction. In the lower part of the canyon (the trail starts low and goes high), you're not very far above the stream, so the air is full of plant scents that I don't have the experience to identify - the only nature smells I know are pine, fir, and ocean, none of which were present - but they're very pleasant. There were a lot of insects in the air, but they weren't as obtrusive as I've seen in other riparian corridors, although that might change as Spring and Summer roll around.
The sound of woodpeckers is also pretty pervasive, which can be slightly worrisome given how many quite large, dead branches overhang the trail.
There is a significant diversity of the scenery and trees as you ascend, with some dead and gnarled (though somehow still looking dignified), some burnt stumps from old wildfires, some fallen, and some groves quite alive and scented.
As you climb higher and the stream below is caught more deeply between hillsides, it gets increasingly lush and thick:
At some point it gets somewhat less verdant and begins to blend into more common scenery for the lower elevations of the Angeles National Forest that the Canyon abuts:
The little fellow in the photo below was very concerned by my presence - I heard distinctive calls as soon as I turned a curve, and they only stopped when I looked right up at him, so I can only assume they were his rather than some exotic bird's. He sprinted much higher up the tree as soon as he understood that I saw him:
I'm not really a riparian guy in general - too many bugs, and the propensity toward boggy air (not at this place, but elsewhere) - so Evey Canyon isn't a place I'd gush about, but it's a sweet walk with a smooth, low-incline trail that's mostly protected from the wind, apart from the possibility of falling branches. And I'm sure if I cared about botany or biology, it would be a treasure trove of diverse and highly educational specimens.
BTW, I've been thinking about why it is I post these things here instead of going to some dedicated nature/wilderness/hiking site, and I think I've hit on it: Daily Kos is about more and better Democrats, and being involved with nature is about being a better Democrat, and a better human in general. That's my convenient rationalization, anyway, and I'm sticking to it - no need to say that I'm just used to writing here, and thus use it as a general clearinghouse for my thoughts and experiences I wish to share.