Great Local Hikes for Beginners

Build cardio for bigger hikes on these trails for beginners!

So you want to climb big mountains. The best way to prepare for mountains like Cucamonga, Baldy, and San Gorgonio is to consistently train on smaller trails. Here are some great local trails to get you outdoors and building cardio. The Claremont Wilderness Park Loop and Potato Mountain are particularly well suited for mid-week fitness hikes when you have limited time.

Smith Mountain is just north of Azusa. The 6.5-mile out and back trail to the peak gains 1,843′ and tops out at 5,111′ About half the elevation gain is in the last mile…

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The trailhead for Mount Islip is off the Angeles Crest Hwy (2) past Wrightwood. This 7-mile out and back trail gains 1,627′ of elevation and tops out at 8,251′. Hiking Mount Williamson on the same day is a great plan if you have the time.

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The Sunset Peak trailhead is located above Upland/Claremont off the 210 freeway toward Mount Baldy. The 8-mile trail is a fire road that gains 1,400′ of elevation and tops out at 5,796′.

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The trailhead for the Icehouse Canyon-Chapman Trail Loop is above Upland/Claremont off the 210 freeway. The 9-mile scenic trail gains 2,620′ of elevation and tops out at 7,580′.

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Sitton Peak is located off Ortega Hwy 74, and can be accessed from Lake Elsinore or San Juan Capistrano. This 9-mile scenic trail gains 2,200′ and tops out at 3,273′ with views of the ocean.

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Big Santa Anita Canyon is off the 210 freeway above Pasadena. It’s a 5-mile, heavily shaded trail loop that follows the Winter Creek drainage with 1,800′ of elevation gain.

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The Claremont Wilderness Park Loop is a heavily trafficked fire road trail, just off the 210 freeway. The 5-mile trail gains 823′ of elevation with great views of the city along the ridge.

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Potato Mountain is just above Claremont off the 210 freeway. It’s a 5-mile round trip up a fire road with 1,200′ of elevation gain. There is a concrete water tank and beautiful views at the top.

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