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: Western Riverside. From the 91 Freeway, take the 14th St. exit and head northwest (turn left if you’re coming from Corona/O.C., right if you’re coming from San Bernardino) for 1.1 miles. Turn left on Glenwood and park where available just past the trailhead, right where Glenwood becomes San Andreas. From the 60 Freeway, take the Rubidoux Blvd. exit and head south for 0.6 miles. Turn left on Mission Blvd, which becomes Mission Inn Avenue. After 1.6 miles, turn right on Redwood St. Go 0.2 miles and bear right on Glenwood Drive. Go 0.3 miles to 14th, take a right and an immediate left to continue on Glenwood. Go 0.3 miles and park where available past the trailhead. Note: As of this update (May 2014) parking is permit-restricted by the 9th St. Trailhead.
- Agency: City of Riverside Parks & Recreation Department
- Distance: 3 miles
- Elevation gain: 500 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: All year but hot during the summer
- USGS topo maps: Riverside West
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire
- Recommended gear: sun hat
- More information: Trip description here; Yelp page here; Everytrail report 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. 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.