Friday, May 12, 2017

Blue Mountain

Hiked: 5/12/2017
Distance: 4.1 miles round trip on dirt road
Summit Elevation: 2448'
Prominence: 928'
Elevation Gain: 1250'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.0
Round trip time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Recommended water: 20 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free on Westwood Street
Difficulty: Easy

I was looking to break in some new boots in preparation for hiking Hawkins Ridge the next day so I headed for Blue Mountain, a small peak in Riverside County north of Box Springs Mountain. There are a couple of trailheads for Blue Mountain. I drove to the one at the end of Westwood Street north of the mountain. There are actually two Westwood trailheads and I parked at the unfriendly one. The gate to the start of the trail was covered in No Tresspassing, No Parking, and Closed! signs. So I continued past the gate onto a wide dirt road with long switchbacks.

A steep use trail was available as a shortcut near the start, but I opted for a little extra distance since I was breaking in boots. Hazy, smoggy views opened up of Box Springs Mountain, the Santa Anas, and San Gabriels as I gained elevation. The combination of "May gray" and smog muddied what were probably very nice views. Interesting boulders lined the trail or were just off trail, but I marched to the summit without stopping in about 40 minutes. Other trip reports mentioned that all the benchmarks were missing. I found the missing mount points while taking some photos. Some kind of shrine was set up for Ralph Granillo. His online obit turned this up: He was an avid walker of Blue Mountain where he was known as "The Legend". RIP. After poking around the Blue Mountain summit a few minutes, I continued south to the Highgrove benchmark area where I got an even better view of Box Springs Mountain. On my return trip, I passed several other parties on their way up. I stopped to check out a large granite boulder with loose climbing anchors bolted into the top. I climbed it on one side with an easy class 2 route. The bolts were for the 25' vertical face on the other side. Frankly, none of the bolts seemed secure and I wouldn't trust them. At the end, the boots didn't seem to cause any discomfort, though the real test awaited. Blue Mountain was a fun urban hike, one of several in the UC Riverside area.

Unwelcome start

Summit not visible at the start

Switchbacks on a wide track

Nearing the summit

Box Springs Mountain and Saddleback distant right

Missing benchmarks on Blue Mountain

Shrine to Ralph Granillo

Box Springs Mountain from the Highgrove area

Looking down from the large granite boulder, about half way down

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  1. I did that hike a couple of years ago. That shrine was there then, too, but no Ralph. It seemed to be one of those things where people just put more rocks on it as they get to the top, kind of a 'i made it' symbol. I also walked to the south end of summit area, and the views were terrific. I was there one winter day with light Santa Ana winds - perfect day to be on that summit.

    Speaking of shrines - i don't know if you've done Sugarloaf near UCR, but there's supposedly a concrete monument up there dedicated to a 15-year-old kid. There's a picture online of the monument. I haven't climbed it yet - soon. Getting too hot for the 'peaklets' in the Riverside area.

    1. Mike,

      I haven't done Sugarloaf by UCR yet, but it is on my list for days when I have limited time, like this hike to Blue. Also, Pigeon BM next to it.

  2. Pigeon will take like 5 minutes - many have gone from there straight up (literally) to Sugarloaf. There's a good use trail, however, up Sugarloaf's SE ridge. I see that ridge every time i drive to Rubio's near UCR. I live about 3 miles from UCR. I can't believe I've never done those two peaks. Soon.

    Oh, and a confession. I've lived in Riverside for over 20 years - I've never done Mt. Rubidoux. Yikes. Might have to do with the fact that Rubidoux gets an average of 1500 people PER DAY. It's like Disneyland up there.

    1. There are a lot of great small peaks around there. In addition to Rubidoux, Jurupa and Reche Mountain are might also be worth a look some day. I know a lot of these urban areas have been hit with graffiti.

  3. I've done both Reche and Jurupa - easy peaks both. I did Jurupa the same day as Blue Mtn - great views because of the Santa Ana, but Jurupa had stronger winds - it's in that corridor south of Cajon Pass that acts like a stinkin' wind tunnel. Brutal.