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.
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. To be sure, you won’t get much solitude on this hike and the entire route is paved, but the easy access and potentially great views – plus landmarks such as the Peace Tower and Serra Cross – make Rubidoux popular with local hikers of both the human and canine variety.
From the trailhead at Glenwood and San Andreas, climb steadily on the paved trail for 0.4 miles, where you reach a 4-way junction. The left route is your return; the right route heads downhill toward the restricted access trailhead on 9th St. Stay straight, continuing your ascent toward the north 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 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. If the air quality is good, views include almost every major mountain range in the area; even if there is smog you get an interesting aerial perspective on the immediate neighborhoods. There is also an ampitheater, the Serra Cross and some intriguing 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 return to the 4-way junction. Make a hard right and head back to the Glenwood trailhead.