Two Trees Trail
- Location: Riverside. From L.A., take the 60/215 freeway (they are the same road for a few miles) to the 3rd St. exit. Turn left on 3rd and go 2 miles (3rd becomes Blaine). When Blaine St. becomes a dirt road, park in the lot. From the south or east, take the freeway to Watkins and right. In 1.5 miles, go right on Nisbet. In 0.2 miles, go left on Mt. Vernon. Turn right on Blaine.
- Agency: Riverside County Regional Park & Open Space District
- Distance: 3 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,100 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Steepness, elevation gain)
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: October – June
- USGS topo maps: Riverside; San Bernardino South
- Recommended gear: hiking poles sun hat
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire
- More information: here and here
- Rating: 7
Riverside residents are fortunate to have easy access to the Two Trees Trail in Box Springs Mountain Park, which provides a quick workout and great views of the surrounding area. Ironically I used to live across the freeway from the park, completely unaware of what I was missing.
The beginning of the trail is a little tricky (the first time I tried the trail, I crossed through more private property than I probably should have). From the end of Blaine, head left on a fire road. Follow the road to the end (you’ll pass by a sign that reads “private property”; you can bypass the driveway by veering off the fire road and crossing the creek before rejoining the fire road). At the paved Two Trees Road, take a right and walk to the entrance to Box Springs Mountain Park. The signed Two Trees Trail begins here. Note that parking is not allowed on Two Trees Road.
The trail dips down into a canyon before beginning its ascent. As you climb, you pass by a lot of interesting rock formations, similar to those at Joshua Tree, and the views of the city become wider and wider. You reach a ridge and soon after, about a mile in, you pass Cassina Spring and cross a stream. This is some of the only shade on the trail and a nice place to take a break.
After Cassina, you will see the top of the trail: Box Springs Mountain Road. This is the turnaround point, although you can extend your hike by heading south on the Edison fire road or north to the Skyline Loop trails. If you head north (left) for a short distance you’ll arrive at a saddle where you get nice views of the San Bernardino Mountains. Your westward view from the top of the trail includes the San Gabriels, the Santa Anas and a substantial slice of the Inland Empire.