Note: Blue Mountain is currently closed to public use. Hikes are offered by Friends of Blue Mountain several times per year. Call 909-783-1664 for more information.
- Location: Westwood Street and Westwood Lane, Grand Terrace. From Riverside and Orange County, take I-215 north to the Barton Road exit. Turn right (east) and go 1.4 miles on Barton Road. Turn right on Honey Hill Drive, make a quick left on Westwood Street and drive 0.4 miles to the corner of Westwood Lane. Park on the left side of the street. From San Bernardino, take I-215 to the Mt. Vernon/Washington exit. Turn right on Washington, head under the freeway and go 0.6 miles to Center St. Turn right on Center, make a quick right on Barton and go 0.6 miles to Honey Hill Drive. Turn left, make another left onto Westwood St. and follow it to the corner with Westwood Lane.
- Agency: Friends of Blue Mountain
- Distance: 4.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,200 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Steepness, elevation gain)
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: October – May
- USGS topo map: San Bernardino South
- Recommended gear: Sun Hat; Hiking Poles
- More information: Story about the mountain here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 6
Like nearby Box Springs Mountain and Mt. Jurupa, Blue Mountain sticks up from the flat plains of the Inland Empire, providing a good workout and nice views of the city and mountains. Conveniently located to both San Bernardino and Riverside, Blue Mountain is well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Even if visibility is poor, the dramatic views of the city below and the interesting geology are impressive sights.
From the corner of Westwood St. and Westwood Lane, follow the fire road past the yellow gate. Almost immediately, turn right at the intersection to begin hiking on the Blue Mountain Trail, which is a fire road (popular with cyclists and dirt bikers.) There are several roads and trails that cross the north slope of the mountain, but the route described here follows the Blue Mountain Trail as it appears on Google Maps.
After a moderate ascent, you arrive at another junction (0.4 miles.) Turn right and pass by a willow tree–the only shade on the hike. You soon come to a split; the two paths soon rejoin, so you can take either. At 0.6 miles, you make a long left turn through a dirt lot, passing by the back of some houses. The trail then begins the main ascent, climbing 950 feet over the next 1.4 miles. On the way, you get nice views of the San Bernardino/Riverside area, with the Santa Ana, San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains distant. If you have a sharp eye, you might pick out Mt. Rubidoux in downtown Riverside.
About half way up, you may notice a metal sign on a large rock. This is a tribute to Ralph Granillo, a famous local who passed away earlier this year.
Past the memorial, the trail continues its steep climb; you will soon see the antenna structure on the summit. At two miles, the grade finally levels, and you reach the top. The antennas prevent you from getting a true 360 degree panorama, but you can get a nice view shortly past the structures. Blue Mountain’s south slope drops off dramatically, and across the valley, the Box Springs Mountains are almost at eye level. Several large flat rocks allow you to relax and enjoy the view before heading back down.
If you enjoyed Blue Mountain, you can thank the Friends of Blue Mountain for their grassroots efforts to make the area accessible. According to their website, they are hoping to soon designate 500 acres as a wilderness park.
In case you were wondering, Blue Mountain is named for the blue lupine flowers that grow there in the spring. Grand Terrace has been nicknamed the Blue Mountain City due to the peak’s impressive profile, rising above the east end of town.
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.