This relatively short loop packs quite a climb in the first half of the ride as it traverses the Northern perimeter of the Claremont Wilderness and into the Angeles National Forest. The return is a mix of fire-road and street, although only a few minutes are spent on pavement. From the top of Potato Mountain there are usually views of the Claremont/Upland areas, and haze permitting you can watch planes come and go from Cable airfield while sitting on the water tower.
From the 210 freeway in Claremont take the baseline exit and head West on Baseline 0.7 miles to Mills Avenue. Go North (right) on Mills for 1.2 miles to the intersection with Mount Baldy road. Continue straight across the junction and park in the area on the immediate right, or on the street if the parking area is full. Google directions to start
Begin by riding North on Mills Avenue and entering the parking area to the left at the end of the road. Go through the opening in the chain-linked fence in the North West corner. After a little dip and possibly a stream crossing you will pass a fire-road on the left; continue straight. Expect to see plenty of hikers and runners as you start climbing - this section is very popular on weekends (but much quieter on weekdays) - please be courteous to other users so we can continue to share this trail.
At 1.80 miles take the fire road straight ahead rather than following the current fire road to the left. The climbing doesn’t get easier but the fire road is generally well maintained and never too loose or otherwise technically challenging.
At 3.85 miles you reach the turn off to Potato Mountain on the right. It’s less than a mile to the top but if you’ve already had enough climbing continue to the left and enjoy the downhill return. Otherwise go right and after a brief dip climb what feels like the steepest part of the ride. As you approach the apex you will see turn offs to the left and right - these make a small (0.1 mile) loop around the top - otherwise go straight to the water tower at 4.66 miles.
The return begins by backtracking down to the junction at 5.44 miles and turning sharp right. Follow the fire road down through some pleasant forest (although showing serious signs of fire damage) until you reach the intersection with Mount Baldy Road at 6.84 miles. Turn right onto the road for the start of a fast return! Continue straight across the junction with Padhua Avenue (8.41 miles) and you will soon be back at Mills Avenue and the start.
Dec 26th, 07
Excellent - perfect conditions and not many others using the trail