Difficulty PG Distance 2.1 to 5 miles General information: Cellular Service General information: Dogs allowed Rating: 4-6 San Gabriel Valley & Foothills (East) Season: Fall/Early Winter Season: Late Winter/Spring

Claremont Hills Wilderness Park


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Featured in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!

Deer in Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, Claremont, CA
Four legged resident of Claremont Hills Wilderness Park
Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, Claremont, CA
Oaks in Cobal Canyon

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.

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3 comments

  1. Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1994: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.nfshost.com/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    For more information: http://mjvande.nfshost.com/mtbfaq.htm .

  2. The bikes are only allowed on the trails, which are actually fire roads, wide enough to accomodate cars. Fire vehicles also use the paths. The paths don’t cross through any streams. They are wide enough to accomodate both bikers and hikers. There are a lot of areas where you can credibly argue mountain bikers should be kicked out, but this doesn’t seem like one of them to me. Though I see from your site you advocate no mountain biking anywhere, this is a pretty reasonable place for bikers to be.

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