Pedley Substation Rd
Norco, CA 92860
Trailhead: 33.956520, -117.526449 Powerhouse: 33.959612, -117.525040
Hike: .25 miles 1-way Level: Easy
Dog-Friendly: Yes (but be mindful of glass on the ground) Kid-Friendly: Yes, but keep in mind this is a teenager hangout
In the heart of Horse Town, aka Norco, sits an historic site that is slowly being taken over by time and graffiti. The Norco Powerhouse was built in 1903 to provide hydroelectric power to the various towns in Riverside. There were also substations and labor housing built during this time with intake gates underneath the Union Pacific Bridge. The intake gates would send water down a 6-mile channel to an 86 ft drop into the generators of the powerhouse.
William E. Pedley founded Riverside Power Company which built and owned the Powerhouse plant until bankruptcy after the power contract was voided by the county, due to faulty systems. Pacific Light and Power took ownership from 1906 until it’s abandonment in 1914 due to flood waters damaging the headworks.
It’s pretty amazing to hike down to this spot being that it is just a quarter mile and this is quite an impressive structure. When we visited there were a decent amount of people, mostly teenagers tagging on the walls. There were some people riding on horses that strolled through as well. This is such an interesting town. So much livestock and horses! It seems like every person here must own at least one farm animal. We even saw some kids walking a tiny pony! I’d like to revisit this town one day just for the culture alone.
It is literally a 5 minute walk to the powerhouse: