Watch out for mountain bikers and snakes. The first mile is shared with drivers going to and from BSA Camp Trask and has many blind corners. Monrovia Canyon Park is closed on Tuesday, but you can enter on foot from the residential area.
The Sawpit Road starts 0.2 miles up from the lower parking lot (next to the ranger station) in Monrovia Canyon Park. Take a right turn from the main access road and cross a gate and the bridge over the stream. The paved road climbs steeply up a series of switchbacks then contours around Sawpit Dam (decommissioned). In a mile, a left fork leads to BSA Camp Trask. Stay right and the road turns to dirt. In another 0.2 miles, a junction with the Ben Overturff Trail
on the left is marked by two stone pillars. Continue right and pass around a locked gate.
The road climbs steadily, passing in and out of areas shaded by oaks, bay, alder and maple trees. It reconnects with the upper end of the Ben Overturff Trail
in 3.0 miles where there is a vault toilet. From there, the road climbs more steeply up to White Saddle and a signed junction with the Van Tassel Motorway #1N36
on the right.
The road continues another 3.0 miles through mostly shadeless chaparral passing into side canyons with seasonal springs and welcome shade ending at a junction with the Red Box-Rincon Road #2N24.
This road parallels the Ben Overturff Trail
. It is easy to follow, has fewer bugs, and can be used for mountain biking as well. It is a good route for somebody who wants a less technical hike with the option to head down Van Tassel Motorway #1N36
and Silverfish Truck Trail to Stone Cabin Flats, or to take Upper Clamshell to Monrovia Peak.
Deer, squirrels, rabbits and, of course, bears and cougars. Oaks, maples, alders and bay trees provide shade in canyon bottoms with chaparral of ceanothus species, sage, manzanita, laurel sumac on the slopes. A few bigcone spruce provide shade on upper parts of the road. Watch for abundant poison oak.