Featured in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!
Claremont Hills Wilderness Park
- Location: From I-210, take the Baseline Road exit and go west for 0.7 miles. Take a right on Mills. At 1.1 miles, stay straight on Mills and follow it to the parking area. Parking is $3 for four hours. The automated machines only MasterCard and Visa (no cash). Park hours vary by season; see the link below for specific information.
- Agency: City of Claremont
- Distance: 5 miles
- Elevation gain: 900 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Best season: October – June
- USGS topo map: “Mt. Baldy”
- Recommended gear: sun screen; sun hat; hiking poles
- More information: Trip descriptions here and here; Map My Hike report here; Yelp page here
- Rating: 6
Since its opening in 1997, the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park has been a hit with hikers and mountain bikers. The parking fee, adapted in 2013, has done little to hurt the park’s popularity. With a plastic bag dispenser and several trash cans throughout the route, it’s also very dog-friendly. Restrooms and benches along the route and a large shade structure near the top are also among this trail’s amenities.
The loop can be hiked in either direction, but by going counter-clockwise as described here, you can do the first part of the ascent in the shade. You reach the junction almost immediately; head straight and begin your climb through Cobal Canyon (the left fork, Burbank Canyon, is your return route). You climb through the pleasantly shaded canyon for about 0.8 mile before a hairpin turn brings you out into the open. The steady climb continues, reaching a junction with Evey Motorway (an alternate route to Potato Mountain) at 1.5 miles.
At about two miles, the climb ends and soon after, you reach a shade structure, the approximate halfway point of the route. Here you can enjoy some panoramic views of the Inland Empire before continuing. The trail follows a ridge, passing two junctions with trails heading down to La Verne’s Marshall Canyon before beginning the long descent back to the parking area.
At 3.3 miles, make a hairpin left turn onto the Burbank Canyon Motorway (going straight takes you to Johnson Pasture, an optional extension for this hike, or an alternative descent if you have a shuttle set up). The trail drops back down into the canyon, completing the loop. Retrace your steps the last few hundred feet to the parking lot.
Text and photography copyright 2016 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. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.