Hemet Maze Stone
- Location: Northwest of Hemet. From Highway 74 (8.5 miles east of the 215 Freeway and 5 miles west of downtown Hemet) head north on California Avenue. Follow it a total of 3.2 miles to a dead end (turn left on Tres Cerritos Avenue after about a mile and then turn right to continue on California Avenue) and park before the fence.
- Agency: Riverside County Regional Park & Open Space District
- Distance: 0.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 100 feet
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Suggested time: 30 minutes
- Best season: Year-round (hot during the summer)
- USGS topo map: Lakeview
- More information: Article about the stone here; blog descriptions here, here and here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 4
For those interested in the obscure and unusual, a trip to the Hemet Maze Stone can be an oddly rewarding experience. Whether it qualifies as a hike is a matter of opinion, but it is a designated California Historical Landmark – #557, to be precise. The Maze Stone has a cult following of sorts, lending its name to a nearby housing development and a restaurant at Soboba Casino.
The destination of the hike is a boulder containing ancient petroglyph depicting two intertwined mazes. Sadly, vandalism has necessitated two barbed-wire fences around the stone, but you can still get a peek at it. From the end of California Avenue, cross through the fence and follow the abandoned road uphill. For its location in a dry corner of the valley, the landscape surrounding the Maze Stone is fairly diverse; you will see sycamores, a desert willow and buckwheat, among other plants. The hills are dotted with granite boulders similar to those at the nearby Santa Rosa Plateau Ecogical Reserve. As you climb the hill, if visibility is good, you can get a glimpse of the San Bernardino Mountains.
At 0.3 miles, you reach the stone. You can climb on a rock to get a better look at it although it’s hard to get too much of a view through the fence. Still, it’s an interesting site–one worth visiting if you’re in the area and are curious, perhaps hungry for a different type of outdoor experience.
Text and photography copyright 2014 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.
As a local I’d like to warn hikers that the place is a hotbed of rattlesnake activity, especially in late spring/early summer. Watch where you step!
Good tip, thank you.