Afoot and Afield Inland Empire  by David & Jennifer Money Harris

Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire Guide Book

by David & Jennifer Money Harris (Wilderness Press)
Afoot and Afield Inland Empire  by David & Jennifer Money Harris
The Inland Empire—the area east of Los Angeles and located primarily in San Bernardino and Riverside counties—is known as Southern California’s big backyard. And with its mountain, foothill, valley, and desert recreational opportunities, it’s a hiker’s paradise. Afoot & Afield Inland Empire describes nearly 200 noteworthy hikes ranging from easy to very strenuous in this first comprehensive hiking guide to the length and breadth of Inland Empire. These hikes explore Southern California’s three tallest mountains, the stark beauty of the high desert, including Joshua Tree National Park and Mojave National Preserve, as well as trails that wind through urban and regional parks. Each hike is shown on custom-created maps that also include GPS waypoints: the maps alone are worth the price of the book.

© 2012 David and Jennifer Money Harris/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Afoot and Afield: Inland Empire" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 216.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 216.

This hike follows the Mojave River through the colorful Afton Canyon to a pair of shallow caves. The Mojave River normally flows underground, but impermeable rocks keep the waters on the surface in this region. During the wet season, the river is a dependable source of water here and it was an important resource to the Native Americans who lived in the region. In the past two centuries, the river has supported explorers, prospectors, and settlers following the Mojave Trail across the vast parched desert. In 1905, railroad tracks were built through the river canyon to link Utah to Los Angeles. The Union Pacific Railroad now operates these tracks. You are likely to get your feet wet, so sandals are recommended. At rare times of heavy flow in the Mojave River, this hike is not advisable.
Afton, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
The southern face of the San Bernardino Divide is rarely visited. Tucked away half way up the slopes are two splendid trail camps, located alongside rushing creeks and shaded beneath towering incense cedars. Backpackers looking for solitude can find it here. In the summer when popular trails are reserved weeks in advance, these camps are usually available.
Redlands, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 11
A flat trail along the north shore of Big Bear Lake links the Big Bear Discovery Center, popular Cougar Crest Trail, Serrano Campground, and Meadows Edge Picnic Area. Though this trail isn’t much of a destination in itself, it makes for a pleasant excursion on foot or bicycle for those visiting the area. It is also accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.
Big Bear Lake, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Amboy Crater is a volcanic cone of ash and cinders rising out of a lava flow. It has erupted at least four times; the most recent eruption happened 10,000 years ago. This short hike leads through the basalt flows and up a breach in the crater wall to the center of the cone. After the winter rains, the fields of purple sand verbena and desert lily along this route are especially photogenic. This trip has enough attractions to keep a child captivated, and the steady stream of freight trains on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe line blowing their whistles at Amboy lend a certain atmosphere that some may find appealing. The crater is located on BLM land outside the boundaries of Mojave National Preserve.
Amboy, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
Andreas Canyon contains the world’s second largest California fan palm oasis and is the ancestral home of the Paniktum clan of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. This short trail follows Andreas Creek through the palm-filled canyon for a half mile, then returns along the south rim with views into the canyon. Friday through Sunday at 1 p.m., rangers lead interpretive hikes through the canyon for a nominal fee. Inquire at the entrance station for more information and to confirm times.
Palm Springs, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1
This short segment winds along the west shoulder of Constance Peak, with dramatic views into the deep Santa Ana River Canyon and to the mountains beyond.
Angelus Oaks, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Antsell Rock is the jewel of the Desert Divide. Edmund Perkins, of the USGS, named it for an artist at the Keen Camp Resort who was painting the peak. Antsell Rock stands high above the Divide and its stony buttresses make an impressive sight from most directions. It is also one of the few mountaineers’ peaks in Southern California requiring more than the usual plodding to reach the third-class summit. While this trip is short, it is certainly not easy.
Mountain Center, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Apache Peak stands high on the Desert Divide, guarded on the north and west by sheer rock walls. Surprisingly, the summit itself is merely a rounded bump covered in chaparral. Whatever the peak may lack in rugged beauty, however, is compensated for by its 360-degree views of the entire Desert Divide, Santa Rosa Mountains, and Coachella and Garner Valleys. Backpackers will enjoy the nearby Apache Spring, with a reliable water source and good camping. The trip can be done as an out-and-back hike from the Zen Center, or with a short shuttle, as a loop down the scenic Spitler Peak Trail. Apache Peak is a seemingly strange name for the peak, which is located in the middle of Cahuilla Indian territory.
Mountain Center, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.5
The Araby Trail climbs the canyon overlooking the modernistic Bob Hope estate on the southern edge of Palm Springs and offers close-up views of the comedian’s sprawling ridge top compound. Actor Steven McQueen later owned the home until his death in 1980. The Palm Springs International Airport is close by and you are likely to see the private jets of the rich and famous landing and departing as you hike.
Cathedral City, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4.6
Arches and natural bridges are formed when more rapid erosion takes place on the lower parts on a rock. These formations are common in sandstone but rare in granite. Arch Rock is one of these unusual granite arches. A short nature trail explains the arch and many of the park’s other prominent geological features. Arch Rock is located halfway along the loop trail.
Joshua Tree, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.3
Looking north from San Bernardino, the outline of a huge arrowhead is emblazoned upon a hill called Arrowhead Peak. By further remarkable coincidence, the arrowhead points directly down to a hot spring at the foot of the mountains. Cahuilla Indian legend says that the arrowhead was shot from the sky by the God of Peace to point out a new homeland where the tribe could live safe from war-like neighbors. The pattern is created by a large area of granite rock just beneath the surface that prevents bigger plants from taking root. The small shrubs stand out in contrast to the greasewood and larger plants in the surrounding soil, giving the appearance of an arrowhead.
San Bernardino, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
The Art Smith Trail, named in 1977 for the late long-time Trail Boss of the Desert Riders who was responsible for the development of numerous routes in these mountains, is the gem of the northern Santa Rosas, offering a grand tour through the heart of the wilderness. The trail features outrageous cacti, outlandish rock formations, several small palm oases, and a chance to commune with the desert. Despite its length and the rugged terrain, the trail gains less elevation than might be expected. Those looking for a quick jaunt can hike 3 miles out past palm oases to a vista point, then return. For a longer hike, go all 8 miles to the end at Dunn Rd., then return. Or better yet, connect to the Hahn Buena Vista Trail and follow it down to Fern and Palm Canyons.
Palm Desert, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 16
In October each year, quaking aspens (Populus tremuloides) leaves turn bright yellow for a few short weeks, and then drop from the trees. Aspen Grove is one of only two places in California outside the Sierra Nevada where the splendid trees can still be seen. This hike follows Fish Creek through four groves of aspens. The willows in the creek also change colors, adding to the festive display beneath the evergreen firs and pines. Call the Mill Creek Ranger Station for current foliage information. Neither of the recommended maps is quite accurate at portraying the maze of trails around Big Meadows, but the main trail from the Aspen Grove Trailhead is clearly marked.
Angelus Oaks, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.8
A century ago, the climate in Joshua Tree National Park was wet enough to support limited cattle ranching. Ranchers dug wells and built reservoirs to obtain vital water. Barker Dam is the largest of these efforts. Built by the Barker & Shay Cattle Company, it creates a substantial lake during the wet season. This nature trail past the dam at the edge of the Wonderland of Rocks offers some of the most varied and interesting scenery and vegetation of any short walk in the park.
Twentynine Palms, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
Nestled among the canyons of the parched Santa Rosa Mountains, lush oases form where underground water is forced to the surface. The Bear Creek Oasis is hidden high on the slopes above the La Quinta Cove. This hike passes through a sandy wash and up the ridge along the dramatic Bear Creek Canyon through veritable gardens of cacti before abruptly rounding a corner and ending at the oasis. This trail is closed from June 15–September 30 to protect the bighorn sheep’s access to water during the hot season.
Palm Desert, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 9
Bear Flat is actually a sloping valley at the head of Bear Canyon and s only flat in comparison to the rugged slopes of Mt. Baldy. The short but steep trail leads along Bear Creek and past numerous cabins, through forest and chaparral. It is enjoyable either for a quick workout; or for a leisurely tour of the oaks, bigcone Douglas-firs, cedars, and spring wildflowers. Lucky and patient observers might catch sight of bighorn sheep roaming the mountainside nearby. Ambitious hikers may continue from the flat to Lookout Mtn., or all the way to the summit of Mt. Baldy.
Mount Baldy, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.2
The great south ridge of Mt. Baldy rises directly from Mt. Baldy Village to the summit, and climbs nearly 6000 feet in 3.5 horizontal miles. The trail offers the greatest sustained elevation gain of any in the San Gabriel Mountains.
Mount Baldy, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 12
Mill Creek cuts a deep swath through the loose rocks south of San Gorgonio Mtn. There are numerous waterfalls along the lateral streams pouring down the steep faces into Mill Creek. Falls Creek has the most impressive waterfall, uncreatively named Big Falls. It is hidden behind the mouth of the canyon, but can be viewed from this short hike.
Redlands, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.6
This segment can be done as a one-way hike with a car or bicycle shuttle, as an out-and-back hike, or as a loop returning along a poorly marked parallel trail. The trail system in this area is evolving rapidly and there are presently a number of unmarked side trails that can be confusing.
Redlands, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.5-11 miles
Numerous trails lace this preserve and it is easy to choose as short or long a hike as you wish. There are benches and observation platforms along the way. All hikes start at the kiosk adjacent to the parking lot. Excellent maps are available here; take one and plan your excursion. The preserve is open from 7:30 a.m. to sunset.
Desert Hot Springs, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 10