After hiking 10 miles round-trip to the summit of Timber Mountain on Saturday, I wanted to get the blood flowing with a hike yesterday. I decided a trip to the summit of Potato Mountain via Claremont Wilderness Park was just the hike I was looking for. Like usual, Julia and Isla came along for this one. The total distance of this hike is 10.6 miles with 2411 ft of elevation gain. It took us a little more than 3 hours from start to finish.
The weather was perfect for a Sunday morning hike, with abundant sunshine and cool temperatures for our 8 AM start time. When entering Claremont Wilderness Park the trail forks about 50 meters in, it is here you can decide to go clockwise or anti-clockwise. We chose to go anti-clockwise (right fork) and head straight to the trail for Potato Mountain. After 1.5 miles, the trail forks again near an old water tower. If you go left, you continue on the 5 mile loop and back to the parking lot, we took a right towards Potato Mountain. The trail was relatively empty, with only a few mountain bikers making their way up and down. This is in steep contrast to the Claremont Loop, which was flooded with those trying to stick to New Year’s resolutions.
It took us an hour and a half to reach the summit of Potato Mountain and the views were incredible. To the north, a snow capped Mt. Baldy, with Ontario Peak and Cucamonga Peak in sight. To the south, Santiago Peak rose high above Orange County and stuck it’s head out from the haze. To the east, San Gorgonio and San Jacinto could be seen in the distance. To the west, the trails of Claremont Wilderness Park and Marshall Canyon cut through the hills, and sparkled a rare green.
On the way down, we added a few extra miles to the hike by finishing the Claremont 5 mile loop instead of making it an “out and back”. It was nice to get some additional uphill hiking in, as it’s getting tougher by the day to get Isla tired!