Mt. Jurupa


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View from near Mt. Jurupa’s summit
Watch out for snakes!

Mt. Jurupa

    • Location:  11660 Sierra Avenue, Fontana.  From I-10, take the Sierra Avenue exit and go south for 1.7 miles.  The park is on the right (just past Jurupa Avenue.)  From the 60 freeway, take the Valley Way exit and head north for a total of 0.9 miles.  (Valley Way becomes Armstrong.)  Bear left on to Sierra Avenue, pass by the golf course, and go 1.7 miles to the park entrance, on the left.
    • Agency: Martin Tudor Jurupa Hills Regional Park/City of Fontana
    • Distance: 3 miles
    • Elevation gain: 1,200 feet
    • Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Steepness, elevation gain, terrain)
    • Suggested time: 2 hours
    • Best season: October – June
    • USGS topo map: Fontana
    • Recommended gear: Sun Hat; Hiking Poles
    • More information: here; Everytrail report here
    • Rating: 4

It’s very steep, completely exposed and covered in graffiti, and if you scramble to the top of Mt. Jurupa, you’re likely to be rewarded with a view that’s sadly choked in by smog. But this climb is a great workout, and it’s very conveniently located to both San Bernardino and Riverside. For residents of Fontana, it’s almost literally in their backyard. It’s short enough that it can be done in the summer, if temperatures aren’t too hot. Locals appreciate Mt. Jurupa, such as this meet-up group who held an event to help clean up the park last year.

Mt. Jurupa is not tall (2,217 feet), but it has a prominence of 1,167 feet, meaning if that the ocean level were to rise so it was an island, the highest point on the island would be 1,167 feet above sea level. It’s the tallest point in the Jurupa Hills, which straddle the boundary of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

The hike begins at Martin Tudor Jurupa Hills Regional Park (not to be confused with Rancho Jurupa Park in Riverside.) From the north end of the parking lot, follow a paved bike path to an intersection with a fire road. Turn left, climb past a cell phone tower, and you’ll come to a four-way intersection. This is where the work begins. Head uphill on a slope that climbs and doesn’t stop. At least you get nice views of the area as you work your way uphill. The trail splits but rejoins quickly (the route to the left is a little easier to navigate).

The grade lessens somewhat as you continue to make your way uphill. A few false trails branch off, but the main route is usually pretty clear. In addition to the graffiti, there are some more elaborate drawings. The Summitpost link refers to a “Jurupa Art Walk”, which begs the question of if these paintings – which include cartoon characters, a mermaid and even Angry Birds – are officially sanctioned.

You reach a false summit, and then a relatively flat stretch along a ridge brings you to the actual peak. Jurupa’s summit is wide and mesa-like. If the air is clear, the view includes the San Gabriels, the Santa Ana Mountains and more. Even if there is smog, you still get a nice bird’s eye view of the greater Fontana/Jurupa Valley area.

Despite the likelihood of smog, and the certainty of graffiti, this hike is a nice destination in an area not known for having much nature. Whether as a quick workout or a training hike for a bigger peak, Mt. Jurupa is well worth a visit.

Text and photography copyright 2012 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.

Cellular Service Difficulty PG13 Distance 2.1 to 5 miles Hikes with free parking Rating: 4-6 Riverside & San Bernardino Season: Fall/Early Winter Season: Late Winter/Spring

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. As it turned out, this guy’s flight instinct took over, and he slithered away. Not that I was planning on bisecting him with my hiking boots or anything like that.

  2. I thought I sent a comment but not sure if I did. Thank you for the fantastic pictures of the Jurupa Hills. My best friend and I rode our horses for countless hours the 1970s. Smog was way way terrible back then. The best time to ride there was early in the morning definitely before 10:30 a.m. . Thanks again and excellent pictures! 🙂

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