Potato Mountain Hike (Angeles National Forest)
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance||4.5 miles (7.2 km)|
|Hike Time||2 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||1,270 feet (387m)|
|Highest Elevation||3,422 feet (1043m)|
|Fees & Permits||None|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Angeles National Forest|
For a quick mountain fix without driving into the mountains, try the Potato Mountain hike, right at the beginning of Angeles National Forest. It’s a moderate climb through some beautiful oak forests. The hike ends at the Potato Mountain summit, which offers views of the high peaks in Angeles NF, including Mt Baldy. And of course, there are the potatoes that everyone decorates and brings to the summit. It’s a fun hike that especially great for beginners who want to train or get a taste for the bigger mountain peaks.
How Do I Get to Potato Mountain?
The trailhead for Potato Mountain is unmarked along the side of Mt Baldy Road. It’s about 0.7 miles after you pass the last housing development on Mt Baldy Road. After the housing development, about 0.5 miles up the road, you’ll pass a huge dirt area on your right. Shortly after that (0.2 miles) you’ll see another area with parking on either side of the road, which is the trailhead. There are usually cars parked there.
Use this address:
Potato Mountain Trailhead, Claremont, CA 91711
You don’t need a parking pass here. There are no bathrooms anywhere on the hike.
Gear for the Hike
The trail is wide (a fire road) and easy to follow. Light hiking gear is ideal, but you can get away with fitness clothes too. Trekking poles will be helpful on the steep sections. In the summer it can get really hot, bring at least 1L of water.
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.
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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.
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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 December 2020.
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.
Potato Mountain Trail Maps
There are a few ways to climb Potato Mountain, and this route describes the most popular route from Evey Canyon.
Download the Hike GPX FileView a Printable PDF Hike Map
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.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions
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Turn By Turn Directions
The trails you are on are part of a few park areas. Overall you’re in Angeles National forest, but you are also in Claremont Hills Wilderness Park and the (ex) Herman Garner Biological Preserve. This area was saved from development by Herman Garner, who donated it to the Pomona College biology department on condition that it remain pristine wilderness. In 2017 the college gifted it to Claremont Hills Wilderness Park.
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.