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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 Distance (?)3 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

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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.

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The park has bathrooms and picnic tables.
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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.

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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.

Griptightone Gpod Tree

Better Than a Selfie Stick
Part of the fun of a hike is taking pictures, and a flexible JOBY smartphone tripod takes it to the next level. You can use it as a selfie stick, as a regular tripod, but more importantly, as a flexible tripod that can attach to tree branches and other objects. It’s not expensive, and it’s something you can use when not hiking too.

Latest Price – Amazon

Astro Headlamp

Your Biggest Asset If You Get Lost
If something goes wrong and you get lost, sprain your ankle, or get delayed, you might be caught out after dark. And one of the top items that search and rescue departments recommend you carry is a light. Now smartphones have lights, but they drain the battery quickly. It’s better to invest in an expensive yet high-quality headlamp like the Black Diamond Astro 250. It takes AAA batteries, can last 200 hours, and has an emergency strobe. Carry it with you off the trail to use in emergencies as well.

Latest Price – Amazon – REI

Rei Member Card 2

REI Membership Saves You Money Forever
Have you shopped at REI before? They have all kinds of active clothes and gear, from fitness, to hiking, to snow sports, to casual wear. It’s an overall great place to shop (here’s why) and they offer a $20 membership that gets you 10% back on everything for life, along with frequent coupons, discounts, and member-only sales. It’s a no-brainer.

REI Membership – Get It Here

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

My September 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 keep the website ad and promotion free. 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

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.

Gaiagps

How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 6. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

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

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Video Directions

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

Turn by Turn Directions

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Once you see the park sign from the street, make the hard left into the park.
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Go up the path, which goes around the gate.
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Check the trail board at the start for any notices. It’s also a decent photo spot with the cast iron sign.
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You can refill on water at the start.
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Start hiking up the paved path. Stay to the right and watch out for runners coming up behind you.
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Once the trail twists around, you’ll see the summit ahead of you.
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You’ll also see a few of these handy mileage markers along the way.
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Look for views of Mt San Gorgonio, the highest peak in Southern California, in the distance.
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When you get to the junction, make the hard left. On the way back, you’ll come out here after circling the mountain.
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Enjoy the gradual uphill.
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You’ll get great views of Saddleback Mountain in Orange County on this stretch.
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As the trail twists around the mountain, there’s the first of several benches along the way where you can rest.
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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.
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You’re almost near the top. There’s a rare shaded bench here.
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Soon you’ll see the cross and summit ahead of you.
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When you get to the intersection, make the hard right.
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Keep heading up the paved path.
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And soon you’ll see the Peace Tower in front of you.
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Go up the stairs and explore the tower and bridge. When you’re finished here, continue up the trail.
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The trail starts to twist around to the left again.
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And you’ll see the cross in front of you.
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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.
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There are some good interpretive displays and historic plaques.
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To visit the cross, climb the steep stairs, or just go to the far right where the way up is easier.
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There are a lot of historic markers around the cross area.
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When finished at the top, head back to the intersection and go downhill.
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You’ll be on the familiar paved path.
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Soon you’ll arrive at the bridge you saw at an intersection earlier.
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Make the hard left once over the bridge to continue downhill on the paved path.
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The trail is a nice, long paved downhill, with lots of views.
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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.
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There’s a little boulder area that you can climb for a view.
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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.
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And soon you’re back at the trailhead gate where you started. That’s the hike!

This guide last updated on January 13, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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