Rock Trail 2020 Project inspires creativity and community through a shared goal

Isabel Sim, Features editor

Bright patterns of color stand out against the pale sand. Paintings of goblins to flowers to animals to four-leaf-clovers line the side of the pathway up the hill, a guide for those who hike by, each rock created with its own unique design. 

The Rock Trail 2020 Project runs along the Eucalyptus Trail loop across from the Chino Hills Community Park and was founded by Ayala alumni Cami and Chris Clavel with the goal of bringing the community together through a shared goal of reaching 1,000 miles worth of painted rocks. The trail’s message is simple: paint a rock, leave a rock. By doing this, people are potentially inspiring creativity and the joy in nature in others. 

“We thought it would be a great outdoor activity for families and friends to come together during the rough year of 2020,” Cami said. “We hoped to inspire creativity and give an opportunity for everyone to show their talents. We also wanted the rocks to motivate the hikers of the Eucalyptus Trail as the painted rocks did to us when we hiked the Aspiration Trail.”

The Clavels’ inspiration for the trail came after they hiked the Aspiration Trail in St. George, Utah, which was “flooded throughout the two miles with painted rocks from the community.” Inspired by the creativity of the idea and the overall positive environment it created for the hikers, the siblings decided to recreate the trail in their own hometown, Chino Hills. The first rocks were laid on June 16, 2020, making the trail currently about a year-and-a-half old and a quarter of a mile long. 

“We hope for the Eucalyptus Trail loop to be flooded with painted rocks from beginning to end. We encourage positive art, quotes, and other inspired paintings to be on the rocks, hoping to bring joy to those hiking by,” Clavel said. 

Each rock’s distinctive design in the messages and the images it portrays is what makes the trail unique. Clavel hopes that by bringing different minds together, the community can come together as they “foster an atmosphere of inclusion and respect and diversity,” embodying the words of Quentin L. Cook. 

“I would say this project knits the community together by expressing their love through sharing their positive messages and talents on rocks,” said Clavel. “Diversity is what makes this project. It’s through everyone’s participation that makes the trail what it is becoming.”

Sophomore Abby Lane appreciates the trail’s quiet setting and its ability to make passers-by feel immersed in nature. 

“There was a lot of beautiful nature there that I wouldn’t really see unless I was on that trail,” Lane said. “It was very peaceful. There was definitely a lot of people surrounding it but it wasn’t [as if] there were distractions, so it was a nice break from everything.”