STAY IN TOUCH
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Riverside

Hike the Mt Rubidoux Trail (Riverside)

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions for the Mt Rubidoux Trail
  • Where to Park for the Mt Rubidoux Trail
  • Maps and Insider Tips for the Hike
Total Distance3 miles (4.8 km)
Hike Time1-2 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)560 feet (171m)
Highest Elevation1,332 feet (406m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Mount Rubidoux Park
Park Phone951-351-6250

Although not a wilderness hike, the Mt Rubidoux Trail, nestled right in the middle of Riverside, CA, still has lots to offer and is worth a visit. A gradual, paved, family-friendly trail winds up to the top of Mt Rubidoux, where you are treated to panoramic views of the big mountain ranges, as well as attractions some historical attractions like the Serra Cross, the giant flag, and the Peace Bridge. Now there are many trails in Mt Rubidoux Park, but I’ll show you the popular (and probably easiest) route to the top.

And if you’re a hardcore hiker and are considering this hike but don’t like that it’s paved, know that John Muir did this hike (really).

Where to Park for Mt Rubidoux

Official parking for the Mt Rubidoux Trail is about a five-minute walk away from the trailhead, at Ryan Bonaminio Park. There is no parking on the street in front of the trailhead. Use this trailhead address:
Ryan Bonaminio Park, 5000 Tequesquite Ave, Riverside, CA 92506

Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 2
Ryan Bonaminio Park is massive and has lots of parking. Note that the Mt Rubidoux Trail is very popular, and the lot can get pretty full, but generally there’s always a place to park.

Parking at Ryan Bonaminio Park is free.

Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 3
The park has bathrooms and picnic tables.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 4
From the park, cross the street and walk up San Andreas Ave to find the trailhead (on the left as you walk up about 5 minutes). Generally there will be a stream of people coming and going, so the street is easy to spot.

Mt Rubidoux Park is open from dawn to dusk.

Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 5
There are always a lot of people on the Mt Rubidoux Trail. Here you can see the traffic to the trailhead (from the parking lot) on a weekday. To avoid the crowds, come at sunrise or on a weekday.

Gear for the Hike

This is in no way a technical hike, and you’re fine with fitness clothes and sneakers. The hike is very exposed, and I generally bring 1L of water and wear sunscreen. I’d highly recommend a camera for all the incredible views.

Wildcat Small

My Goto Hiking Footwear: La Sportiva Wildcat
If you hike a lot or just want the best (but not the most durable) hiking footwear, the Wildcat trail runner is your best move.  It’s fast and light on trails, the sole gives me good grip off-trail or scrambling, and they dry quickly.
Latest Price on Women’s ShoeREI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s ShoeREI | Amazon

Rei Flash 22 Yellow

Best Budget Day Pack: REI Co-op Flash 22 Pack
Bang for the buck, you can’t go wrong with this pack. It’s super-lightweight and big enough to carry everything for a day hike, including a water bladder. Every year REI improves this pack and after a few years, it’s really solid in every way. I pack mine in a carry-on when I travel to do hikes on trips. And if you’re into ultralight backpacking, this is also a solid choice.
Latest PricesREI 

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

Stay Safe Out of Cell Phone Range
If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Garmin InReach Mini (REI | Amazon | My Review) fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing.

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated January 2021.

My January 2021 Top Gear Picks

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Mt Rubidoux Trail Maps

While there are many trails in Mt Rubidoux Park, many of them dirt, the main loop trail is all paved. If you’ve never done the hike before, I recommend starting with the official loop and adding some side trails if you want to explore. The park is small and has no tree cover; it’s tough to get lost, if not impossible.

Click Here To View Map

Download the Hike GPX FileView a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

How are you going to navigate this hike?
To start, you should always have a paper map and compass. And it helps to print this guide out or save it on your phone. I highly recommend a GPS as well. I use the Garmin Fenix 6 smart GPS watch ( REI | Amazon | My Review) with maps (or the more affordable  Garmin Instinct). You can also use most smartphones. Check out my navigation recommendations and resources on my top gear picks page for options at all budget levels.

Elevation Profile

Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Elevation
The trail to the summit is uphill, but gradual, without any extremely steep sections. When you go back down, you have a nice long downhill cruise.

3D Map

Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail 3d Map
The trail loops up Mt Rubidoux clockwise, with a sharp turn towards the top to visit the summit. After your time at the top, you wind back down around the mountain.

Making the Hike Interesting

Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Historic
Here’s Easter Sunrise Service at the cross on the summit in 1910. The year before, in 1909, the first outdoor non-denominational service was held here, and then became a model for similar services around the world. Today the sunrise service here is the longest-running one in the USA.

Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions

It’s easy to say thank you! Support these free hiking guides by buying anything at Amazon or REI using the links below. There is no cost to you.

Buy Anything on Amazon   Buy Anything on REI.com   

Video Directions

Watch This Video In 360/VR Why 360/VR Is Great

Turn by Turn Directions

Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 6
Once you see the park sign from the street, make the hard left into the park.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 7
Go up the path, which goes around the gate.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 8
Check the trail board at the start for any notices. It’s also a decent photo spot with the cast iron sign.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 9
You can refill on water at the start.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 10
Start hiking up the paved path. Stay to the right and watch out for runners coming up behind you.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 11
Once the trail twists around, you’ll see the summit ahead of you.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 12
You’ll also see a few of these handy mileage markers along the way.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 2 1
Look for views of Mt San Gorgonio, the highest peak in Southern California, in the distance.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 2 2
When you get to the junction, make the hard left. On the way back, you’ll come out here after circling the mountain.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 2 3
Enjoy the gradual uphill.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 2 4
You’ll get great views of Saddleback Mountain in Orange County on this stretch.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 2 5
As the trail twists around the mountain, there’s the first of several benches along the way where you can rest.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 13
You’ll also get some great views of Angeles National Forest as you hike up this part of the trail. Here’s Cucamonga Peak, with a snowy Mt Baldy poking up just over the ridge behind.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 14
You’re almost near the top. There’s a rare shaded bench here.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 15
Soon you’ll see the cross and summit ahead of you.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 16
When you get to the intersection, make the hard right.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 17
Keep heading up the paved path.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 18
And soon you’ll see the Peace Tower in front of you.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 19
Go up the stairs and explore the tower and bridge. When you’re finished here, continue up the trail.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 20
The trail starts to twist around to the left again.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 21
And you’ll see the cross in front of you.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 22
When you get to the top, you’ll find an intersection. I recommend visiting the flag first, then heading to the cross. When you’re finished here, you’ll head down the trail ahead.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 23
There are some good interpretive displays and historic plaques.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 24
To visit the cross, climb the steep stairs, or just go to the far right where the way up is easier.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 25
There are a lot of historic markers around the cross area.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 26
When finished at the top, head back to the intersection and go downhill.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 27
You’ll be on the familiar paved path.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 28
Soon you’ll arrive at the bridge you saw at an intersection earlier.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 29
Make the hard left once over the bridge to continue downhill on the paved path.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 30
The trail is a nice, long paved downhill, with lots of views.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 31
You’ll see many dirt trails heading off the paved path on the north and east side of the mountain. Stay on the paved trail.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 32
There’s a little boulder area that you can climb for a view.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 33
And eventually you’ll reach the lower intersection where you turned at the beginning of the hike. Go straight and hike back down the path that you hiked up.
Hike The Mt Rubidoux Trail Directions 34
And soon you’re back at the trailhead gate where you started. That’s the hike!

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

Related Guides

Popular Articles