Turnbull Canyon and the Gates of Heaven

Turnbull Canyon is a hilly area between the suburbs of Whittier and Hacienda Heights on the east side of Los Angeles County. In my opinion, this is the best location to photograph sunsets in Los Angeles any time of the year. Time-lapse photo sequences created from this place are simply amazing!

While doing research about Turnbull Canyon, the first thing I found was a number of creepy stories related to apparitions, satanic rituals, human and animal sacrifices, and other barbaric activities that have occurred there. Regardless of the legends attached to this area, which has a particular spot called “The Gates of Hell”, it’s an amazing place to take panoramic photos.

The hike itself from Skyline Drive is easy. You will get to the iconic “Water Tower” in 15 minutes from where you park. I assume its name came from the fact that the structure itself is a water tank that is now being used as an antenna tower. One night I had the opportunity to meet with a group of graffiti enthusiasts there. They climbed the tank with such an ability that it seemed like they had been doing it for years. For privacy reasons I didn’t take any photos of them.

Turnbull Canyon Road is notorious for illegal street racing. I heard a lot of cars running at high speed, especially late at night on the weekends, when I was working on the third video.

The only wild animals I have seen in Turnbull are rabbits, therefore this is a very safe place overall for nighttime time-lapse photography compared to the Verdugo Mountains.