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.
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.
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.
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 Shoe – REI | Amazon
Latest Price on Men’s Shoe – REI | Amazon
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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