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.
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.
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.
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Get It Here
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated October 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?
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.
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 August 15, 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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