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Potato Mountain Hike Angeles National Forest

Potato Mountain Hike (Angeles National Forest)

In This Guide
  • Turn by Turn Directions and Video for Potato Mountain
  • Directions to the Potato Mountain Trailhead
  • Everything You Need To Know To Do the Hike
Total Distance (?)4.5 miles (7.2 km)
Hike Time2 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)1,270 feet (387m)
Highest Elevation3,422 feet (1043m)
Fees & PermitsNone
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Angeles National Forest
Park Phone626-574-1613

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.

The City of Claremont has not been too kind when it comes to parking for hikers. There are a few big parking lots close to the trailhead, and they’ve put “No Parking” or “No Stopping” signs in them. For what reason, I don’t know. So what you have to do is park a few minutes up or down the road and walk to the trailhead, which can be dangerous, so be careful. If the situation changes (or you work for Claremont and can explain to me why it’s better to have people walking down the road), please contact me.

Use this address:
Potato Mountain Trailhead, Claremont, CA 91711

Don’t park in front of the trailhead. People are getting ticketed there.

Potato Mountain Parking 2
Assuming there are not now “no parking” signs, you can park in this lot down the road from the trailhead. The lot is free.
Potato Mountain Parking 1
The better bet if you have a parks pass is to probably drive past the Angeles NF border and park in the next lot.

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.

Lone Peak 5

Altra Lone Peak 5
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. Watch my video explaining why they are a great shoe here.

Latest Price on Women’s ShoeREI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s ShoeREI | Amazon

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.

Gaiagps

Gaia GPS Mapping App
Smartphones are not backcountry instruments, but almost everyone has one today. And they all have GPS onboard. So I recommend getting a good GPS hiking app like Gaia GPS that supports offline maps. Just make sure to put your phone in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. GaiaGPS not only has smartphone and tablet apps, but also an online planning tool. You can drag the GPX hike tracks from my (or any) guides into the online map and they will sync to your phone. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get up to 40% off here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.

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

My July 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.

Potato Mountain Trail Maps

There are a few ways to climb Potato Mountain, and this route describes the most popular route from Evey Canyon.

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.

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). The GPS smartwatch is nice because it’s rugged, works if your phone dies, and also has a billion other features like sleep tracking, workout recording, etc.

Elevation Profile

Potato Mountain Elevation
Aside from a small dip or two, you basically just climb uphill about 500 feet each mile. It’s a long, gradual climb that’s challenging but not harsh.

3D Map

Potato Mountain 3d Map
The trail makes its way up Evey Canyon, then turns sharply to climb the fire road to the summit of Potato Mountain.

Potato Mountain Hike Directions

It’s easy to say thank you for this guide!

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Video Directions

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

Turn By Turn Directions

Potato Mountain Hike Directions 3
The trail starts in the southwest corner of the parking lot area, hidden down a small hill.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 4
Look for the yellow gate that marks the beginning of the hike. Head through the gate.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 5
You’re treated to a slight downhill at the start as you hike through an oak wonderland.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 6
But after a short stretch the trail starts to climb and then keeps on climbing.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 1
You might here the creek flowing as you climb. There are some steep viewpoints to your right where you can see the shady canyon and babbling brook.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 7
After about a mile the oak trees will thin out as you gain in elevation and continue climbing.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 8
And at 1.4 miles you’ll see the turn up to the summit. Make the sharp left here.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 9
At the sharp left continue up the trail to Potato Mountain.

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.

Potato Mountain Hike Directions 10
As you climb from the junction you’ll start to see the big mountains (or the clouds surrounding them!). You can also see the trail in front of you climbing up Potato Mountain.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 11
You go down a small, steep hill. Stay left on the big trail.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 12
And now you have the final stretch of climbing. The trail is steep here so take your time and enjoy the views.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 13
When you see the triangular sign, you’re almost there.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 14
Here you are, the summit of Potato Mountain!
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 15
If you go straight you’ll reach the concrete water tank. You can also walk around the summit area for more viewpoints.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 16
Bring a decorated potato, take some photos with it for social media, and leave it in the dirty potato pile.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 17
On a clear day you can see the major peaks in Angeles National Forest and in the distance, Saddleback Mountain, San Jacinto, and San Gorgonio.
Potato Mountain Hike Directions 18
From here you just go back down the way you came up. And that’s the hike!

This guide last updated on April 7, 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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