- 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
- Dogs: Allowed on leash (exercise caution on warm days)
- Cell phone reception: Good near the trail head and at the summit; weak to fair in between
- Water: None
- Restrooms: None
- Camping/backpacking: None
- Recommended gear: sun hat; insect repellent
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide
- 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 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 junction where the route from Claremont Hills Wilderness Park joins. Turn left and 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.
If visibility is good, the view here is one of the best in the L.A. area. From east to west, you may see San Gorgonio, San Jacinto, the Palomar Mountains, the Santa Anas, Catalina Island, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, downtown Los Angeles, the Hollywood Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains.
Text and photography copyright 2017 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.