Mt. Rubidoux vs. Etiwanda Nature Preserve: Which popular hiking trail is best?

Eugene Adams

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Mt. Rubidoux and the Etiwanda Nature Preserve are two very popular hiking spots.

I highly recommend them both.

But, what if you could only choose one?

Let’s compare.

Difficulty

Everyone is looking for something different.

Some people want a physical challenge. Others are just looking to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Mt. Rubidoux

This trail is around 2.7 miles and rated as moderate.

I think that rating is about right. It’s not particularly difficult, but you will be out of breath if you’re out of shape.

Etiwanda

This trail is around 3.4 miles and rated as moderate.

I’m undecided myself. Some days I think it’s a moderate hike; others, it seems easy.

Winner

I’ll give this one to Mt. Rubidoux. The difficulty of both hikes is similar. Mt. Rubidoux gets the edge because of the trail itself. The Etiwanda Nature Preserve is filled with rocks that can be rough on your feet.

Views

There would be no reason to hike if it weren’t for the great views. Without a great view, you might as well walk on a treadmill.

Mt. Rubidoux

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Etiwanda

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Winner

Etiwanda is the clear winner here. It’s up in the mountain, giving you a better view of nature. The view of Riverside is nice but untouched (relatively speaking) nature is better.

Crowds

Nothing ruins a good hike faster than crowds of people.

Mt. Rubidoux

Mt. Rubidoux is crowded from sunrise to sunset. This is especially true on the weekends.

Etiwanda

Etiwanda can be crowded as well. However, parking is severely limited, which limits the number of hikers to some extent.

Winner

Etiwanda wins this one for being slightly less crowded.

Parking

Anytime you go somewhere popular, parking has the potential to be a nightmare. I recommend coming early to both these hiking sports to avoid the crowds and find parking easily.

Mt. Rubidoux

There is ample street parking near the hike. You can also park at Ryan Bonaminio park right across the street.

Etiwanda

Edit (9/26/2021)

Starting on 10/1/2021 Etiwanda will start charging for parking.

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There is a tiny dirt lot just below the trailhead. It fills up early and stays full most of the day on weekends. It’s common to see a long row of cars waiting to find a spot.

Winner

Mt. Rubidoux was the clear winner before Etiwada started charging for parking. Now the gap is even bigger.

Trash

No matter how many trash cans are available, some people can’t stop littering.

Mt. Rubidoux

Most days, there is a noticeable amount of trash. The last time I was there, I counted seven facemasks thrown on the ground.

Etiwanda

The Etiwanda Nature Preserve typically has less trash.

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Very little trash, but far too much graffiti.Photo by Author

Winner

Etiwanda is the winner, but it could go either way. Mt. Rubidoux has more trash, but Etiwanda has more graffiti.

Overall

The Etiwanda Nature Preserve wins this one 3–2.

But let’s be honest, it’s a little silly to compare. They are both great hikes that you should try.

For more information about either hike, visit their websites linked below.

Mt. Rubidoux website.

Etiwanda Nature Preserve website.

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Certified Personal Trainer | Certified ESL Teacher |I mostly write about all things Southern California, but I also cover national topics when something important comes up.

Los Angeles, CA
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