The Legend of Green Mist in Chino Hills


Did you ever go up to Green Mist?

Was there a local legend where you grew up that no one could explain? Was there a spot that was shrouded in mystery? We had such an area in Chino Hills called “Green Mist.”

I graduated from high school in 1989, but it wasn’t until 1997 when I was a police officer that the mystery of Green Mist was finally solved for me.

When I was in high school the kids would talk about an area in Chino Hills called Aerojet or Green Mist. The words were used interchangeably.

The local legend said there was a missile launch site up there. It was also a place of animal sacrifice and satanic worship. There was talk about a Green Mist or fog that hung over the hills at times that couldn’t be explained.

This area was the forbidden spot that you had to visit at night before leaving high school. It was just something you had to do.

So, one night during my senior year, four of us drove up to Chino Hills in my 73 VW Bug to visit Green Mist.

We drove down Peyton Dr, which dead ended at Woodview Rd. A right turn and then a quick left led you into a dark wooded area with no street lights. It was pitch black.

My car slowly went up the road as we waited for some satanic cult to appear in robes like zombies in the night. The trip up this road was like a conveyer belt with no reverse. There was no turning back. We were committed to go all the way to the top.

The goal was a locked gate with a security camera a few miles away. We just had to make it to the gate and back without the car stalling or some other crazy thing happening in the dark. This was Green Mist. According to legend, anything was possible.

This was the stuff horror movies were made of.

The road started to climb and curved back and forth as it went up the side of the hill. There were no guard rails and the drop off over the edge into the canyon added to the mystery of the area.

After an eternity in the dark we made it to the end of the road. No ghosts or people in robes attacked us so it was all downhill from here. Down we went, hoping not to encounter anyone. When we got back to Peyton Dr we were finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. We even had a sense of accomplishment. Don’t laugh. It was just part of growing up in that area.

Let’s fast forward to 1997 when Aerojet came up again.


One night I was working when I stopped at a gas station. A man walked up to me and asked if his kids could look at my police car. I said sure and opened up the doors so they could look inside.

Out of the blue the father said, “I used to work for Aerojet.” What were the odds of him saying that 8 years after I graduated from high school? I don’t know why he brought it up, but I’m glad he did.

“What was Aerojet?” I asked.
“We were a defense contractor.”
“What did you do up there?”
“We made weapons for the military.”
“Was there a missile silo up there?”
“No,” he said with a laugh.

He went on to tell me they used to put land mines up in Chino Hills during the Vietman war. He said they used to take human cadavers and blow them up so see how much damage was done with a land mine. They would then take the body back and study it. They would then tweak the power of the land mine so it would maim rather than kill.  When he saw the surprise on my face he said, “It was war.”

He also said every once in a while a cow would blow up and they eventually stopped doing that when more houses were built in the area.

That’s when he said the one thing that solved the mystery of Green Mist for me. During his story he told me how they exploded different gases to do tests. He said, “Sometimes there was fog and it would turn green from the gas. It was a green fog.”

That was the Green Mist! The mystery was solved.


Today, my son and I made the Green Mist journey. We drove up to Chino Hills and turned onto the old road that was narrower than I remembered. There were the same old trees with branches like arms and fingers reaching out to us as we made our way around the curves. At one point my 12 year-old said, “I can see how this could be scary.” I told him there was something weird about the area and he agreed.

You can only go so far now because the road is closed. We drove to another spot and parked. We then hiked uphill all the way up to the gate, which is still locked. The security camera is still there and stands as a symbol of the secrets the hills still have after all these years.

The sign warned of “Danger- Explosives Hazardous Waste Area” as a reminder that this place was once a “war factory” in the hills that no one knew about.

We stood triumphantly in front of the gate as we took in the view of the valley. It was hot after our uphill hike and the afternoon breeze felt good. We then started down the hill back to reality.

It’s funny how this one spot had been the subject of so many high school conversations for years from the 1960s to the mid-1990s.

And here I was again in 2015 with my son. We even took a selfie up there.

My son was fascinated by the story of Green Mist and he said he would hike up there again. As we walked back down he said, “That was fun.” As a father, that’s all you can ask for. He’ll never forget the first time he went up to see Green Mist, just like I never forgot mine.

I find it amazing how this road could capture my son’s curiosity 26 years later like it had for us back in the day.

As for the Aerojet area. It closed down in 1995 and is part of a $46 million cleanup. Google “Aerojet Chino Hills” and you’ll be shocked at what was going on up there for almost 40 years. Mustard and tear gas weapons were exploded, along with depleted uranium-tipped projectiles. There was also contaminated runoff that made its all the way to the Santa Ana River into Orange County. There were also cases of cancer that was blamed on the run off.

Today there’s  a golf course and housing track called Vellano a few hundred feet away. I wonder if any of those people know the legend of Green Mist.


121 thoughts on “The Legend of Green Mist in Chino Hills

  1. I was raised in Chino and graduated from Chino High in 1980. And of course I hear the stories of the green mist. I even went up there a few times, scary! In 2005 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It is an autoimmune desease they believe one of the causes could be environmental. It makes me wonder if Aerojet could have been one of the facters in me getting this desease. I wish there was a way to find out how many people in this area have an autoimmune desease. They already link Aerojet to cancer.


      • my mom was a lead inspector up there for 26 years aerojet used to rent the whole damn disneyland only for its emploies ,food beer everything was paid for .we could get on every ride like 3 times in one night. my moms 66 now and healthy as ever. shes even got a few 25 and 30 mm rounds here chromed and on shelves. it was a great place, she lost a few friends there. but that was a chance you took working with explosives.her pension just started paying her when she retired last year and its a damn good was a great place to work she says. she still has life long friends she keeps in touch with. there are tunnels that lead underground all the way to san dimas hills hidden there aperently roads big enough to drive semi trucks past one another in both directions. its a cool place, it made it so we never went without as kids. we always had new dirt bikes and go carts due to the great pay. so to aerojet i say thanks for a great childhood. and thanks mom and dad i love you

        Liked by 1 person

      • I graduated from Chino High in 1998. Never heard of the Green Mist until after High School. My husband and siblings went up there but I’m scared of ghost so I wouldn’t go at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. my mom was one of the lead inspectors up there for 26 years shes as healthy as can be aerojethad so much damn money, every year they would rent disneyland for one night and only aerojet emploies and friends and family were invited all the beer and food was free you could get on every ride in the park 3 or 4 times in a night. its one of my best childhood memories with my brothers ….aerojet rocks theres still a facility in downey and i believe fullerton im not saying for sure but somewhere around here i might just have a few 25 and 30 mm chromed rounds


  3. That place was once the Chino rides every year. . And our partying place for all us kids.. I’m 56 now so yes a long time ago.


    • It was one of the party places otherwise at someone’s dairy. I graduated in 77 from Chino High. I agree about all the changes in Chino. It was a great small town. My father was also a 5th grade teacher in Chino at Newman Elementary.


  4. Mid to late 60’s, my husband and brother-in-law drove that road late at night. On the way back down they saw a car go over the edge, They rescued two or three boys, who were in bad
    condition.Drove them to Chino Hospital and stayed at the hospital almost the entire night with them, until the parents were located and arrived there. We lived on Oakland Rd.and always wondered what went on up there, though believed it to be a testing ground for explosives of some sort. The area was just Chino at that time. We would do some shopping in Los Serranos grocery store, rather than
    go the seven or eight miles into town of Chino. I do remember in the Spring and Summer when it was a very clear day, looking up at the hills so green and beautiful. Looked like moss covered. And always appeared to be at the end of our street. Wow! Brings back many good memories. We have been out of state for over thirty years. Last time we visited, the canyon road had changed so much, we almost could not find Glenmeade School. Wonder what it looks like now. Thanks for the memories.


  5. Pingback: Green Mist one year later | Badge415

  6. I grew up one block from the green mist in the early 1960’s. I have many wonderful stories of going weekly to the site. My experiences were somewhat different from the one reported. I played there at night and day as did all the kids that lived in the upper Los Serranos area. There were names of the Higgins, Law, Headerman, Smiths, ysassaga, Stauffer, Davis, Townsend and Taylor just to name a few of the local kids who walked weekly to the green mist or ghost. People would come from Santa Barbara, Orange County and even San Diego to see the legend. I can tell you only the local kids know the truth of the this legend. Gary Higgins


  7. If one google the founders of Aerojet there will be foundational clues to many of the common emotions surrounding the green mist stories.
    It was the site of a compound which employed the occult who both resided on and very close off site in order for them to develop weaponry. This weaponry falls under the domain of Baal warfare weapons.
    Centuries back there were hundreds of sites in the hills which had been opened to the dark side to have made contact with Lucifer. This was just one of them which was co opted by the occult to help them keep up with the Nazi’s using some of their same elements in weaponry.
    The hills have a very dark, mysterious and well guarded secret history.
    Not to worry though as God was here first!


      • They do, have and will talk. One voice which speaks is the language of the light and the other the language of the dark.
        Chino Hills was my first ” rodeo” so to speak after being graced with light when God himself spoke to me to build three churches in Chino Hills.
        I received a great amount of press during the time of building these three churches. Mainly after they were built. I was hired by the deceased master architect responsible for designing Chino Hills. They directed me to lead an in depth investigation of the players responsible for the Incorporation and who later became the Council.

        Only the parts of the story were ever made public through the papers because they had an operative who covers the news for the Hills.

        God saw me through the required 8 seconds before getting off when he told me my work was done just after the second restraining order was issued by the courts as a result of three council people’s sworn testimony.
        What a wild ride- six years living in the City with a 24/7 tail on me to help set up traps to have me arrested. So many of them are actually hilarious when thinking back on them. One was when they used the catholic priest to call me out for a lunch date in Mimi’s in Chino. I had it video taped and if it is sped up it resembles a Keystone cop movie from the 20’s.
        All of this is public record however I never pursued even through I so wanted to. It is now way past the Statute of limitations at least in the courts on earth.
        Have tons of research to the chronological back story which indeed has been both an adventure and at the same time an investigative journalists delight.
        How is your book doing?


  8. I graduated from chino high school in 1987! Grew up in chino. My older brother graduated in 1984. We used to go to the green mist many times. Legend has it that a man with a pig head mask would scare the kids that went up there! He was known as the “Pig Man”! I can’t believe no one has brought up the “Pig Man”. The Green Mist was spookie and fun! I’ve never seen it the daylight…..good times!


  9. What a trip! I realize this is an older blog entry, but I just now ran across it.

    Graduated from Don Lugo in 1993, and like so many before us, my friends and I made the trip up there in my buddy’s mother’s ’78 DeVille.

    At night.

    It’s sort of ironic how, during the day, the urban legends sound so far-flung. At night, however, they become much more believable. We were in Saddlewood off of Chino Avenue, right next to the 71, so Aerojet wasn’t all that far away.

    When you’re an adult and take the time to read about those things that you wondered about as a child, things begin to make much more sense. However, it seems like some of the magic rubs off. Saddlewood was situated right next to the flood control channel that ran parallel to the 71, and some of the spur tunnels down there could be followed all the way up into Chino Hills. You’d end up underneath some manhole cover on Payton or Grand. We just KNEW that if we found the right spur, we’d pop up somewhere in the middle of Aerojet. Now the idea seems preposterous, but we had the whole Indiana Jones thing going on back in the day, heading down into the tunnels with our flashlights and rain boots.

    Thanks for triggering such a cool memory, and offering some background that I’d not been exposed to before.


  10. As a graduate from Don Lugo Class of 84, I remember all too well the mystery that surrounded Aerojet. This was back in the days of Dairy Parties, cruising Del Taco, and hundreds of us dedicated weekend partiers caravaning out to Harrison, Wineville and the other wildly popular dark and abandoned roads lined with eucalyptus trees and filled with miles and miles of corn fields. It’s where all 3 high schools (at the time) came together to do nothing more than drink Boones Farm, Coors Light & Michelob while Sammy Hagar & Van Halen were pumping out of the TransAms driven by the “Dutchie” kids attending Ontario Christian… and the lowered “Undercover Mini Truckers” who’s windows were blacked out with “limo” tint with in n out license plate frames altered to spell out In n Out Urge. Bumper stickers too. We were all good kids. We loved our cowtown called Chino. I worked at the A & W on Riverside Dr (now Gus’ or Andy’s) in HS. we hung out at the legendary Pink Onion, built skateboard ramps we kept on our street 24/7. It was at a time when could almost always score beer @ L & M Liquor sometimes 7-11. A time when every one of us avoided legendary Chino motor cop McCombs like the plague . Back in the day he’d pull you over, whip out his trusty tape measure and see whether your lowered bug, mini truck, transam whatever… was too low!! Seriously. And He remembered his repeat offenders and pulled them over whenever he saw them. Classic McCombs. Moving on somewhat.. One thing I never appreciated until I was much older was that.. when we were at parties.. Which were always plentiful, and everyone was always there… and, sure we were 14, 15, 16 or 17yo.. And hammered.. CPD would pull up.. Word would travel fast that they were there.. But they would just tell us to pour it out. And u can bet we did just that. No further action was ever taken. A far cry from what would happen today. Life was great in my beloved hometown. I can’t imagine growing up anywhere else. It was a perfect coming of age. Now thankfully we have Facebook and you can bet we’re reliving those good times every day over and over again. It was a slice of Americana I will always hold close to my heart. Thanks for providing aa forum for us to relive those days through the magic of our memories. Heading back to FB which ultimately is what led me here.. Hope it’s OK to post a link to your blog. I should proofread but I’ll take my chances. I’ve probably been here an hr or more.


  11. Growing up in Diamond Bar in the 80s and 90s, We all knew the story.
    Today, 05/25/19, I got a call to enter Valleno. beautiful home. so i did my work and kept my excitement about being 20 yards from the big building to a minimum as I am a professional, but my work finished, like my childhood dream come true, I saw all the things one does not see. Google maps has “deleted” what i just saw with my own eyes. the signs around the restricted area, the mine field, ect. I took my pictures, left my footprints. a dream come true. i went to Green Mist. I will make time to take my 21 year old son to the gate. We need to keep this legend alive. our children and their children. Thanks for posting this 415. We locals hold a very special key, when we are gone of we don’t pass the key then its forgotten…

    Dude! 2 million dollar homes, right outside the perimeter. One guy now knows that lives there.


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