Oakmont/Oak Ridge Loop (Redlands)
- Location: Southeast Redlands at Oakmont Park, Sutherland Drive and South Lane. From I-10, take the Yucaipa Blvd. exit. Head south (turn left if you’re coming from Palm Springs; right if you’re coming from San Bernardino) and make your first left onto Outer Highway 10 South. Go 0.3 miles and turn right on Alta Vista. Go 0.7 miles and turn left on South Lane. (Note that the sign for South Lane is easy to miss; keep in mind that this is the first street after Highview Lane and if you reach Sunset Drive, you’ve come too far.) Follow South Lane half a mile to the entrance of Oakmont Park, on the left. Park in the lot.
- Agency: Redlands Conservancy
- Distance: 3.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 350 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: October – June
- Recommended gear: sun hat
- USGS topo map: Redlands
- More information: Trip descriptions (slightly different routes) here and here; partial trail map here
- Rating: 5
This double-loop hike explores the foothills of southeast Redlands, providing views of the San Bernardino Mountains and Live Oak Canyon. Each loop has its own distinctive character, giving this trip a good amount of scenic variety for a suburban hike. If you’re starting early in the day, consider the larger loop first as the smaller loop has (somewhat) more shade, providing some cover from afternoon sun. Later in the day, consider doing the smaller loop first as described below; that way when you get to the major ascent of the hike the sun will likely be on its way down. That said, since the major ascent is only about 200 feet, the loops can easily be hiked in either order.
Start by following an unsigned path on the right side of the fence, following South Lane northeast for a short distance. The trail branches away from the road and climbs to an intersection (1/4 mile). Bear left and make a quick right at another junction. This trail merges with a fire road, unsigned but listed on Google Maps as the Oakmont Trail. Follow it downhill into a shallow canyon, sparsely populated with more oaks. At 0.6 miles, by a large oak tree, it makes a pronounced bend to the right and continues down canyon. A gradual descent brings you to an open plain where the trail makes a sharp bend to the right, heading toward Oakmont Park.
Just over a mile from the start, you reach the Oak Ridge Trail (signed as Trail #1), which branches off to the left. (You will return to this point and continue toward Oakmont Park and South Lane at the end of the hike.) The Oak Ridge Trail ascends on a series of switchbacks, taking in some good views, reaching the start of the second loop at 1.4 miles. This loop can be hiked in either direction but by bearing right and going counter-clockwise, you save the most interesting stretch for last.
The trail ascends some more and follows a ridge, reaching a residential street, Silverleaf Court, at 1.6 miles. Turn left and follow Silverleaf to its end and begin a descent on a service road. At 1.8 miles, look for the next leg of the Oak Ridge Trail/Trail #1 and make a hairpin left turn.
The trail now cuts just below the top of the ridge, curving back and forth but staying almost entirely level, for an enjoyable 1.3 miles, tracing an outline that resembles a hand. You may hear some traffic noise and gunfire from a nearby shooting range but for the most part this stretch feels pleasantly secluded. Ignore a few fire breaks crossing the trail and continue back to complete the loop (3.1 miles.) Retrace your steps down to the previous junction, turn left and follow the trail back through the picnic area to Oakmont Park.
Although the route may sound confusing (and the unofficial trails and breaks cutting across don’t help) it’s overall pretty easy to follow. It’s hard to get really lost here as major streets are close by so if you end up getting separated from the main trails, you can still have an enjoyable time just wandering around.
Text and photography copyright 2015 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.