Text and photography copyright 2010 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
- Location: West Riverside. From route 60, exit south on Rubidoux Blvd., and go left on Mission for 1.5 miles (its name changes to Mission Inn), and go right on Redwood. Go 0.2 miles to 9th St. and park along the street near the corner of Mt. Rubidoux Drive. An alternate trailhead can be reached farther south, by taking Redwood Drive to 14th, going right on 14th and left on Glenwood. From route 91, take the University Ave. exit, go left on Mission Inn, and after a mile, turn left onto Redwood.
- Agency: City of Riverside Parks & Recreation Department
- Distance: 3.3 miles
- Elevation gain: 450 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: All year
- USGS topo maps: Riverside West
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire
- More information: here
- Rating: 3
I think of Mt. Rubidoux as a sort of Griffith Park for the Inland Empire. Like many of the trails I’ve written about, this is one that I used to live near without knowing it. On clear winter days, the view from the top includes Mt. Baldy, Old Saddleback, San Gorgonio, San Jacinto and much more.
From the 9th Street trailhead, walk 0.5 miles to a four-way junction. The route in front of you is your return route; the trail that bears to the left accesses the other starting point. Your route takes a hard right, and you curve around the northern flank of the hill. This is where the views of the mountains to the north start opening up. You also get nice views of the Santa Ana River (which gives Riverside its name)–the same Santa Ana that starts way up in the San Bernardino Mountains and meets the ocean between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach.
Shortly before the summit, you cross under a footbridge (your return route) and pass by the Peace Tower. On the summit, you get a nice 360 degree view. Although the elevation of Mt. Rubidoux is only 1,325 feet, it’s the tallest thing around, so the vistas are unobstructed. There is also an ampitheater and a monument to Father Junipero Serra, and some interesting rock formations that are well worth checking out.
Take the shorter, steeper trail for your return route (it branches off to the left on the way down). In less than a mile, you arrive at the four-way junction and walk the last 0.5 miles back down to the street.