- Location: North of Claremont. From I-210, take the Baseline Road exit and head east for 0.2 miles. Turn right on Padua Road and go 1.8 miles. Bear right on Mt. Baldy road and go 1.5 miles to a turnout on the left side of the road. Parking is free, but a permit is required (see the link below for more information).
- Agency: Herman Garner Bioligical Reserve/Pomona College
- Distance: 4.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,150 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Elevation gain)
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Best season: October – May
- USGS topo map: “Mt. Baldy”
- Recommended gear: sun hat; insect repellent
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire
- More information: trip report here; Yelp page here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 7
The trip to Potato Mountain (elevation 3,422) is a nice, moderate hike that provides a good variety of scenery. Even if the Inland Empire is covered in smog, the quiet trip up through Evey Canyon and the up-close views of the Ontario/Cucamonga Ridge are enjoyable.
From Mt. Baldy Road, pass the yellow fence and enter Evey Canyon and the Herman Garner Biological Reserve, operated by nearby Pomona College. You dip down into the oak-lined canyon, and then the trail begins ascending at a moderate grade. A seasonal stream runs through the bottom of the canyon.
As you ascend, the trees thin out (the area is still recovering from the 2002 Williams Fire), but the canyon’s steep walls block out most of the sun. You get a few views of Sunset Ridge to the north, dotted with some antenna structures.
At 1.4 miles, you reach a T-junction. You can reach the popular Claremont Hills Wilderness Loop by heading right, but to reach Potato Mountain, head left. You make another quick descent to a saddle, where you can see the summit of Potato Mountain to the right and Cucamonga Peak’s characteristic pyramid shape to the left in the distance. Clinging to the north side of the mountain,
the fire road ascends, providing nice views of the canyon below. After a hairpin turn to the right, you arrive on Potato Mountain’s flat summit.
Here, you can get see Mt. Baldy to the north, Old Saddleback to the south and San Jacinto and San Gorgonio to the east.
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.