Clarity in Claremont
Hike the rugged Claremont Hills Wilderness Park in Los Angeles County
The majority of Claremont Hills Wilderness Park’s 1,693 acres is inaccessible, rugged terrain. But there’s a 4.9-mile moderate loop that’s well-maintained, easy to follow, and glorious in its far-away feeling, despite being so close to the city. The Claremont Hills Loop is the only one to take, so getting started from the parking lot is easy enough, but you’ll encounter a fork almost immediately.
From here, you have two options: hiking the loop counterclockwise has a steeper ascent, packing 839 feet of elevation gain into approximately 2 miles, followed by a gradual descent. Hiking the loop clockwise has a more gradual climb and a steep descent. It’s just a matter of personal preference when it comes to which way to follow the loop! After that, it’s straightforward (well, loopy!). Just continue following the wide multi-use trail as it climbs farther and farther from civilization and deeper into the wilderness. The north side of the trail passes through Cobal Canyon as it makes its way toward the Angeles National Forest. However, it never enters the forest, instead looping around and heading back south through Burbank Canyon.
Cobal Canyon has more trees than Burbank Canyon, so it’s more shaded from the sun. The majority of the trail is exposed. Panoramic views of the Inland Empire begin and end the hike as the middle of the journey crosses through the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, and benches throughout provide excellent opportunities to relax and admire the view.
Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is located in the city of Claremont off of the 210 Freeway and Baseline Rd. From the Baseline exit head west on Baseline, followed by a right onto Mills Ave. Follow the road until it ends at the parking lot. Parking is $5 on weekdays and $7 on weekends, payable at a self-serve kiosk (credit/debit card only, no cash accepted); 4-hour parking limit enforced. The parking lot can get very busy on weekend mornings; additional parking is available at the Thompson Creek trailhead down the road. Park hours vary each month—go to the City of Claremont website for current park hours. Dog friendly!
Story and photos by Natalie Bates, @wanderwithnatalie
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