Animals and NatureHiking

First Hike up to the Giant “M”

Have you ever thought about climbing up to the big “M” on Box Springs Mountain?  We have, and we finally did it last weekend.

If you don’t know what I’m writing about, the big “M” overlooks Moreno Valley and is visible from the 215 and 60 freeways as you pass by or through Moreno Valley.

I didn’t have any idea where to start our hike so I checked out the area around the “M” on Google maps.  I noticed a parking lot off Hidden Springs Dr. (near Pigeon Pass Rd.), which turned out to be for the Box Springs Mountain Park.  There is a trail map at the park (which someone decided to draw pictures on), but it didn’t help us too much so I am glad that I looked at the aerial photos first.

After our hike, I visited Riverside County’s website, which has a map of the various trails on Box Springs Mountain.  We followed the “M” Trail (the red line), which the website lists as difficult.

Although we didn’t see many people on the trail, we did see a range of people including parents with kids, young adults with dogs, and a few elder statesmen who left us in the dust.

Once we reached the “M”, the view was great, although it was a bit of a hazy day.

The “M” is so large that I couldn’t fit it all into the frame when I was standing just slightly downhill from it.

You can’t see it too well in this picture, but there is quite a bit of graffiti on the “M”. I wonder if people would continue to deface the “M” if they knew how much time, effort and money volunteers have contributed to maintain the “M” since it was originally constructed in the mid-1960s. Unfortunately, I believe the answer is that some people still would.

If you take the “M” trail, bring enough water to last you to the “M” and back. Other than the drinking fountain at the bottom of the mountain, there is no water on the trail.

There are some challenging spots, especially if you choose to take some of the straight up paths rather than the zigzag paths. We hiked the trail in running shoes, but we might buy hiking boots for our next hike to handle the slippery and steep parts of the trail better. Unlike Mt. Rubidoux, the trail leading up to the “M” is all dirt and rock.

Next time we visit Box Springs Mountain, we will try to find out how to reach the big “C” that overlooks UCR.

Looking for more hiking spots in and around the Inland Empire? Check out our list of Places to Hike in Riverside and Beyond. #hikeriverside

Anything to say about this post? Or UFOs? Or anything?