A Local Hiking Guide for Beginners

A Local Hiking Guide for Beginners


School, work, sleep, repeat. Does that sound familiar? It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day commutes of our lives. And more often than not, we take for granted our perfect weather and the beautiful mountains we basically have in our backyards. However busy our lives may seem, sometimes it’s best to take some time to yourself and get outside.

This year, I have decided to #OptOutside, which is why I decided to compile my own list of local hikes in the surrounding areas for beginners. So, I hope you’ll join me in taking advantage of our SoCal weather and getting some more fresh air this new year.

Claremont Hills Wilderness Trail (a.k.a. The Claremont Loop)Claremont Loop
Image via Yelp

Difficulty: Easy – Moderate (more on the easy side)

Distance: 5 miles

Location: N Mills Ave Claremont, CA 91711

Distance from Cal Poly Pomona: 10.3 miles via I-10 E

What to expect: There is a parking lot at the entrance, but don’t forget to pay at the pay stations! This trail is perfect for beginners and is really easy to follow since it’s a loop! The trail also conveniently contains mile markers to let you know what mile you’re on. If you get too tired on the trail, there is a resting area with a gazebo at the 2.5 mile marker. Regardless, get ready for a nice, relaxing hike with beautiful mountain and city views!

Potato Mountain
Potato Mountain
Image via Yelp

Difficulty: Easy – Moderate (more on the moderate side)

Distance: 4.6 miles

Location: Mt. Baldy Rd Claremont, CA 91711 (You can also enter the following coordinates into Google Maps “34 9.790, -117 40.931″ to get the exact location entrance)

Distance from Cal Poly Pomona: 14.2 miles via I-10 E

What to expect: Some say potato, I say po-ta-toe! You might be following the signs that say “Potato Mountain,” but you’ll know you made it to the top of the trail when you see the word “potatoe” written on the floor. And don’t forget to bring your potato for your obligatory “potatoe” selfie! The trail has varying inclines throughout, but it is still a fairly quick and easy hike.

Eaton Canyon
Eaton Canyon
Image via Yelp

Difficulty: Easy – Moderate (more on the easy side)

Distance: 3.5 miles

Location: 1750 N Altadena Dr. Pasadena, CA 91107

Distance from Cal Poly Pomona: 25.3 miles via I-210 W

What to expect: This is a very family-friendly trail so it can get crowded on the weekends. There is a parking lot with free parking, but that also fills up fairly quickly so get there early.  Overall, the trail is fairly easy but it can get a little rugged towards the end when you start getting closer to the 40-foot waterfall. At the waterfall, you can expect to see hikers eating their packed lunches, dogs jumping in the water and plenty of selfies! Perfect area for photobombing ;)

Sturtevant Falls (via Chantry Flats Recreation Area)Sturtevant Falls
Image via Yelp

Difficulty: Easy – Moderate (more on the easy side)

Distance: 3.1 miles

Location: Chantry Flats Recreation Area, Santa Anita Canyon Rd. Sierra Madre, CA 91025

Distance from Cal Poly Pomona: 22 miles via I-210 W

What to expect: If you see the bridge pictured above, then you’re going the right way! Sturtevant Falls can be found via the Chantry Flats Recreation Area, which also gives you access to other popular trails such as Hermit Falls and Mt. Wilson. There is a parking lot, but unfortunately, you have to pay for parking. It might be cheaper and easier to buy an Adventure Pass beforehand. This hike is quite charming as you walk along old cabins built in the early 1900s. Similar to Eaton Canyon, there is a nice waterfall to mark the end of the trail.

Inspiration Point (via Castle Canyon)
Inspiration Point
Image via Yelp

Difficulty: Moderate – Hard (more on the hard side)

Distance: a little over 10 miles round trip

Location: Cobb Estate, Lake Ave & E Loma Alta Dr. Altadena, CA 91001

Distance from Cal Poly Pomona: 29 miles via I-210 W

What to expect: To sweat and possibly cry. This might be one of the more challenging hikes on the list, but the view and telescopes at the top are worth the struggle. You can thank me later.


Up for a drive? Here are some hikes that are worth the mileage (I promise):

Griffith Park
Griffith Park
Image via Yelp

Difficulty: Easy – Moderate (more on the easy side)

Distance: Varies, multiple hiking trails. To find the exact location of the trails, it’s helpful to visit Modern Hiker or AllTrails beforehand.

Location: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr. Los Angeles, CA 90027

Distance from Cal Poly Pomona: 31.8 miles via I-10 W

What to expect: No matter which hiking trail you decide to take, expect to see great views of Los Angeles and the famous Hollywood sign. After your hike, you can always visit the Griffith Observatory or catch a show at the Greek Theater. If you’re hungry, there is a charming little cafe called The Trails, which is cozied up in the trees of Griffith Park that is perfect for fueling up.

Runyon Canyon
Runyon Canyon
Image via Yelp

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 2.5 miles

Location: 2000 N Fuller Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90046

Distance from Cal Poly Pomona: 34.5 miles via I-10 W

What to expect: There are two main access points to this trail. For the bottom access point on Fuller Ave., you’ll have to find street parking, but be sure to take note of the street signs and their regulations. At the top access point near Mulholland Dr., there is a dirt parking lot, but it’s usually full so get there early if you plan on parking there! This trail is more on the popular/crowded side since it’s known to be extremely dog-friendly and has impeccable views of Los Angeles, so don’t be surprised if you run into a celebrity or two.

And last, but not least…
Don’t forget to always stay hydrated! Be sure to bring and drink plenty of water. Happy hiking, Broncos!

Ready to get outside? Share with us your favorite local hiking trails by using the hashtag #CampusCropChat on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Don’t forget to follow us on Snapchat @ASICPP!