City Hiking Guides

Explore the Beauty of Riverside, California through its Hiking Trails

POSTED ON December 6, 2022 BY Ralph S.


Introduction

Welcome to an exploration of California’s breathtaking Riverside hiking trails! Nestled in Riverside County, this region boasts an array of diverse and captivating hiking trails that cater to every level of adventurer.

Whether you’re an avid hiker seeking a challenging ascent or a family looking for a leisurely weekend stroll, Riverside County has the perfect hiking trail for you. From the scenic beauty of downtown Riverside to the expansive landscapes that make for a great hike, this destination offers an unparalleled outdoor experience.

Join us as we embark on a journey through these trails, uncovering the natural wonders and hidden gems that make Riverside County a must-visit hiking destination for individuals and families alike.

Here are some of the best riverside hiking trails in California to get you started on your next adventure.

The Santa Ana River Trail

Santa Ana River Trail South Fork Trailhead

  • Location: Riverside, CA
  • Distance: 30 miles (48 km)
  • Duration: Approximately 2 days
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
  • Trail type: Point to point

The Santa Ana River Trail is a scenic hiking trail that stretches for 30 miles (48 km) from the Pacific Ocean at Huntington Beach to the Orange Riverside County line. This well-maintained trail is one of the best hikes in Riverside, CA, offering a perfect blend of natural beauty and urban landscapes, making it an ideal choice for hikers of all levels over the weekend.

Starting at Grand Terrace in Riverside County, this trail takes you on a journey through beautiful riverside scenery and picturesque views that are sure to take your breath away. The trail offers plenty of opportunities to learn about the trail, with interpretive signs along the way.

One of the best features of this trail is its accessibility, with multiple parking lots available for hikers to start their journey at various points. This makes it a great option for those who want to customize their hike based on distance or difficulty level.

Mount Rubidoux Trail

Mount Rubidoux Hiking Trail and View

  • Location: Riverside County, CA
  • Distance: 5.5 miles (8.8 km)
  • Duration: Approximately 2 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Trail type: Loop

Located in the heart of downtown Riverside, the Mount Rubidoux Trail offers a scenic and historical hiking experience like no other. This 5.5-mile (8.8-kilometer) loop trail is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, thanks to its convenient location and stunning views.

Starting at Mount Rubidoux Park, hikers can choose from two trailheads: one along Glenwood Dr., 14th Street, and the other along Glenwood Dr., 9th Street. The trail is well-marked and easy to follow, making it accessible for all levels of hikers. With its close proximity to residential areas, this trail also serves as a popular spot for morning or evening walks.

As you make your way along the trail, be sure to check out the unique landmarks that add character and history to the area. From beautiful statues and monuments like the Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge to the iconic cross at the summit of Mount Rubidoux, this trail offers a blend of natural and man-made wonders to explore. The breathtaking views from the top are a treat for any hiker, making it well worth the trek.

Two Trees Trail

  • Location: Box Springs Mountain Park Preserve, Riverside County, CA
  • Distance: 1.3 miles (2.1 km)
  • Duration: Approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail type: Out and back

The Two Trees Trail is a hidden gem nestled within the beautiful Box Springs Mountain Park Preserve in Riverside County, CA. This short 1.3-mile (2.1-km) out and back trail offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, with its peaceful surroundings and gentle terrain.

The trail is popular among hikers, runners, dog walkers, and those simply looking for a leisurely stroll in nature. The moderate difficulty level makes it ideal for individuals of all ages and fitness levels, while the well-maintained path is perfect for walking or running.

As you make your way through the trail, take in the stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys. The trail also boasts a variety of wildflowers that add a pop of color to the landscape, making it a popular spot for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike. With plenty of free parking space available at the trailhead, the Two Trees Trail is a convenient and enjoyable option for a quick outdoor adventure.

Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park

Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park

Located just south of Riverside, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is a hidden gem spanning 1,424 acres (5.7 square kilometers) of natural beauty. This park offers a peaceful and serene escape from city life with its diverse landscapes and interconnected trail loops.

With its abundance of flora and fauna, including sycamore trees (hence the name), oak trees, wildflowers, and various animal species, this park is a nature lover’s paradise. It also serves as an outdoor classroom for children and adults alike, with educational signs along the way providing information about the different plants and animals found in the park.

Hikers can choose from a variety of trails that cater to different difficulty levels and distances.

Here are some of the popular trails in the area:

  • Farside Trail: The Farside Trail and the Cougar rock formation offer a moderate hike with stunning views of the surrounding hills and canyons.
  • Rattlesnake Trail: For those seeking a more challenging route, the Rattlesnake Trail is a steep climb that leads to panoramic views at the top.

The interconnected loop trails also allow hikers to create their own unique routes, making each visit to Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park a new and exciting experience. Other popular trails in the park include the Bench Trail, Terry’s Wall, South and North Arroyo Trails, Pole Line Road, and Meadow Crossing Trail.

Martin Tudor Jurupa Hills Regional Park

Martin Tudor Jurupa Hills Regional Park

Located just 6.6 miles from Riverside, Martin Tudor Jurupa Hills Regional Park is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts in the area. The park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, picnicking, and nature observation.

Jurupa Hills North Trail

One of the main highlights of this regional park is the Jurupa Hills North Trail, which takes hikers on a scenic journey through the park’s rolling hills and valleys. With a distance of 2.9 miles (4.6 km), this trail offers a challenging hike with steep inclines and rocky terrain, perfect for those looking for a more rigorous workout.

Along the way, be sure to check out the beautiful 360-degree views of the city and surrounding areas from various lookout points. It’s a great spot to take a break, snap some photos, and appreciate the beauty of nature.

Other Nearby Hiking Trails and Spots

In addition to the mentioned trails, there are plenty of other nearby hiking options in Riverside that offer beautiful views and a chance to explore the city’s natural surroundings.

Some popular destinations include Box Springs Mountain Reserve, which offers several interconnected trails for all levels of hikers, and the Ortega Highway, known for its iconic cross and stunning panoramic photos.

Trabuco Canyon is another hidden gem waiting to be discovered near California’s riverside hiking trails. So, whether you’re seeking a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll, there’s something for everyone in this stunning canyon.

Here are a few available options to consider:

Walker Canyon Trail

Walker Canyon Trail Lake Elsinore Poppy Reserve

  • Location: Lake Elsinore, CA
  • Distance: 9.1 miles (14.8 km)
  • Duration: Approximately 4 to 5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail type: Out and back

Nestled in the city of Lake Elsinore, just 27 miles (43 km) from Riverside, lies the picturesque Walker Canyon Trail. This moderately challenging 9.1-mile (14.8-kilometer) out and back trail offers hikers a chance to immerse themselves in nature while taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and valleys.

The trail begins with a gentle climb through scenic meadows filled with wildflowers, making it perfect for those who want to take a leisurely walk and enjoy the beauty around them. As you continue on, the trail gradually becomes steeper with sections of rocky terrain, providing a bit more challenge for those seeking a tougher hike.

One of the main highlights of this trail is its dazzling display of wildflowers during the springtime. The hillsides are adorned with vibrant colors as various types of flowers bloom, making it a paradise for nature lovers. At night, the clear skies offer a perfect backdrop for stargazing, with minimal light pollution in the area.

Heat Rock Loop Trail

Crestine, California

  • Location: Crestline, CA
  • Distance: 1.3 miles (2.1 km)
  • Duration: Approximately 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail type: Loop

Just left of Lake Arrowhead and nestled in the San Bernardino National Forest lies the scenic Heat Rock Loop Trail. With a distance of 1.3 miles (2.1 km), this moderately challenging loop trail offers breathtaking views and diverse terrain to explore.

The trail begins in a shaded area, making it a perfect option for hot summer days. As you continue on, the trail leads to open areas with minimal shade, so be sure to bring sunscreen and plenty of water. The highlight of this trail is the large rock formation, aptly named “Heat Rock,” which serves as a perfect photo opportunity and picnic spot. The heat radiating from the rock adds to the unique experience of this trail.

The trail also offers stunning views of Lake Arrowhead and surrounding mountains, making it an ideal hike for families or day trips. Just ensure to wear proper shoes, as some parts of the trail can be semi-slippery, especially during the snow season. Luckily, we have a guide to help you choose between trail running or hiking shoes.

With a short duration of approximately 1 hour, this is a great option for those looking for a quick and scenic hike in the area. Car parking is available at the trailhead, making it easily accessible for visitors.

The Claremont Wilderness Park Loop Trail

The Claremont Wilderness Park Loop Trail

  • Location: Claremont, CA
  • Distance: 5 miles (8 km)
  • Duration: Approximately 2 to 3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Trail type: Loop

Located just 29 miles (about 46 km) from Riverside in the city of Claremont, lies the scenic Claremont Wilderness Park Loop Trail. This 5-mile (8 km) moderately challenging loop trail offers hikers a chance to immerse themselves in nature while taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding hills and valleys.

The trail begins at the parking lot, where visitors can easily access the trailhead. The first section of the hike is relatively easy with a gradual incline, making it perfect for all levels of hikers. As you continue on, the trail becomes more challenging with steeper climbs and rocky terrain, providing a bit more adventure for those seeking a tougher hike.

The highlight of this trail is its stunning views of the San Gabriel Mountains and the city of Claremont. The diverse terrain also adds to the unique experience, with sections of shaded areas and open spaces. However, as the trail can get hot during the summer months, it’s important to bring extra water and sunscreen along for the hike. This is a popular spot for families and dog walkers, so be sure to keep an eye out for furry friends enjoying the trail as well.

You can view the Claremont wilderness map by following the link.

Mount Baldy Wilderness Preserve

San Antonio Canyon And Mount Baldy

Nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, just 34 miles (54 km) north of Riverside, lies the breathtaking Mt. Baldy Wilderness Preserve. With over 15 trails ranging from easy to challenging, this preserve offers hikers a chance to explore the rugged terrain and stunning views of the surrounding area.

Covering an impressive 230 acres (about 0.4 square miles), the Mount Baldy Wilderness Preserve is home to popular hikes such as the Mt. Baldy Trail, Sunset Peak North and South Trail, Stoddard Canyon Falls & Slide hiking area, Stoddard Peak Trail, Joatngna Trail, Potato Mountain Trail, and Brindle Mountain Trail. Each trail offers its own unique experience for hikers, from majestic waterfalls to panoramic views of the valley.

Located around the Angeles National Forest, this preserve is a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can take on challenging hikes or opt for more leisurely walks while taking in the beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains. With its close proximity to Claremont, CA, this preserve is a popular day trip destination for locals and tourists alike.

You can read reviews here.

Conclusion

California is a hiker’s paradise, with an abundance of riverside hiking trails that offer some of the most unique and breathtaking experiences you’ll ever have. With so many trails to choose from, you’re bound to find something that suits your hiking skill level and preferences.

So, get your hiking boots on, grab your backpack, and explore the beauty of California through its riverside hiking trails.

Don’t stop here; check out other destinations on our Hikes & Trails Page.


RALPH S.

Ralph S. is the founder of Silverlight, an avid hiker and trail runner he enjoys spending time outdoors, riding his motorcycle and swimming at the beach when he's not busy replying to customers or developing new Silverlight gear.

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