Distance: 4.1 miles round trip on dirt road
Summit Elevation: 2448'
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
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.
Would you like to know more...?