When most people think of botanical gardens in Southern California, they think of The Huntington or the LA Arboretum. These gardens are large, impressive, and very popular, making it a little difficult to find solitude. Luckily, there are also a lot of smaller botanical gardens in local communities that aren’t very well known. The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is the one I frequent most, as it’s only a few minutes away from where I live in my hometown of Claremont, CA. In this post, I’m going to highlight one of my favorite walking routes at Rancho Santa Ana, and showcase some of the “must see” sights.
The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is located at 1500 N College Ave, Claremont, CA 91711. The easiest way to get there is to drive by car via the 10 or 210 freeway. The garden is located on Foothill Ave just north of the Claremont School of Theology. You can enter on College Ave from Foothill BLVD (just east of Indian Hill Blvd).
- Hours: 8:00AM to 5:00PM Daily
- Price: $10 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $4 for children
- Service dogs are allowed
- The park is wheelchair and stroller accessible
- See more here
The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
From the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden parking lot, look east and you’ll see a small admissions booth. You can pay for your ticket here and proceed into the park.
From the entrance, you’ll pass through Fay’s Wildflower Meadow, and then have a choice to start on the west or east side of the park. I suggest starting on the east for a counter clockwise loop.
The first stops along the east side of the park are the palm oasis, alluvial gardens, and desert succulents.
After passing the alluvian gardens, you’ll see the Tongva Village and get a close up view of the Majestic Oak.
Leaving the Majestic Oak behind you’ll enter into the north section of the park passing by bays and junipers. There is a main road that passes through here, but you’ll also see quite a few smaller single track trails to allow for more independent exploration.
One of my favorite sites in the garden is of the boojum tree. The boojum is a unique tree in that it is the only species of its genus. The Dr. Suess looking tree is native to Baja California and Sonora, Mexico. The boojum can grow up to 50ft in height!
After the boojum tree you’ll pass by the Torrey Pines. The torrey pine is a rare and endangered species that only grows in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (San Diego), and on Santa Rosa Island (Channel Islands). Most people know the name Torrey Pines from the world famous Torrey Pines Golf Course. You may be asking why they’re growing here in Claremont, and the answer is that this part of the gardens used to be the old Claremont Golf Course. I played many rounds on that course in my youth.
From the Torrey Pines, the walk continues past more succulents before passing by the California Fan Palms.
The final stretch of this walk on the east side of the park passes by Joshua Trees, magnolia, and sycamore before entering into the Indian Hill Mesa garden.
The Indian Hill Mesa Garden is home to the butterfly pavilion, Lantz classroom, Container Garden, and Cultivar Garden.
Leaving the Cultivar Garden, you’ll pass by the upper pond, before reaching the exit gift shop and parking lot.
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8 thoughts on “A Walk Around The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden – Claremont, CA”
Very nice Drew!
It looks like a nice botanic garden.
Wow, I thought I’d visited all the Southern California gardens but somehow I missed this one. Thanks so much! I’m definitely going to visit this!
You’re welcome! Things are beautiful right now with all of the rain we’ve been getting.
I’m hearing a lot about the desert “super-bloom” on some of the PCT facebook pages. Would you expect to get some of the super-bloom here as well? With your photographic skills, it would be nice to “revisit” the botanic gardens at that time…. Thank you for the effort you have put into starting the blog, and keeping it going over the year’s. I read every post, and while I think I have only commented once before Drew, I very much enjoy each one…
Hi John! Thanks for the comment. I don’t think there will be much of a super bloom here. The best local spot to see the super bloom is at Chino Hills State Park. If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, Anza Borrego is always great as well. The downside to Anza Borrego is social media. Last time there were hoards descending on the desert and it made it a nightmare of a trip.
I recently stumbled upon your awesome website and I immediately become a fan.
I am a fellow hiker and blogger from Bulgaria. It’s a thrilling hiking destination as well so I hope one day you can visit. Feel free to check my blog gearuphiking.com I’d love to connect with you.
The botanic garden you describe here is so mesmerizing! It’s already on my to do list.
Keep up the good work, Drew!
Thanks, Asen. I’d love to visit Bulgaria some day.