Animals and NatureHiking

Our First Hike up to the UCR Big “C”

Earlier this year we hiked up to the giant “M” that overlooks Moreno Valley on Box Springs Mountain. Last weekend we hiked up to the big UCR “C” that overlooks UCR and Riverside (also on Box Springs Mountain).

The trail is defined on Google maps, so just search for “The Big “C” Trail, 92507″ on if you are interested in finding the trail. If you decide to hike to the “C”, please be careful since you have to walk over an active railroad line.

Also, make sure you bring enough water.

UCR "C" Trail

I think our hike up to the “M” was longer, but I remember it being a gradual climb with a few steep parts. The “C” hike seemed to be steeper and more challenging, or maybe I’m just in worse shape now than I was when we hiked up to the “M”. My kids had no problem making it up to the “C”, so that should probably tell me something. Actually, I saw a few younger and fitter people hiking up the trail on our way down who were doing their own share of huffing and puffing, so I don’t feel too bad.

UCR Big "C" Trail

The “C”, along with many of the rocks on the way up, is covered with graffiti. There was some trash, but not as much as I expected considering this is probably a place that some college students visit for extracurricular activities (if I had gone to college at UCR, I would have spent time up there). Of course, no trash would be better.


Here is an old picture of the “C” without the graffiti from UCR’s website:

The view is definitely worth the climb.

View from the UCR Big "C"

My size thirteens on the “C”…

Standing on the UCR Big "C"

A little history about the “C” from UCR’s website (retrieved 11/30/12):

August, 1955
The big “C” on Box Springs Mountain is made with cement and equipment donated by the E.L. Yeager Construction Co. Surveying work is done by students. At 132 feet long, it is the largest concrete block letter on record.

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

Update 10/14/2015… Please see this warning from the city and university posted to Facebook on 10/13/2015 that fast-moving Metrolink trains will begin running on these tracks:


3 thoughts on “Our First Hike up to the UCR Big “C”

  • I lived on Shady Grove Street from 1962-1970. I used to go to the big C with my brothers and friends and we would also sleep out on a small outcrop just to the left of the letter C. I played in the mountain nearby alone and in company of friends all of the time. I did see a wildcat and there were always tarantulas and scorpions to be found an occasional road runner. . No one feared anything. I was under the age of 10.

  • Approximately how long did it take you, and did you see any animals or insects (that you feared would attack)? I just graduated and I want to go up there before I move back but I’m terrified.

    • We didn’t go real fast. I think it took us about 1 1/2 hours to get from the street to the “C”. If we had climbed as fast as my kids wanted to, we probably would have made it up in about an hour.

      We didn’t see any scary animals or insects, but I am sure they are out there. I wouldn’t let any of my kids go up there alone.

      If you are truly terrified, you might want to admire the “C” from the bottom of the mountain. My wife isn’t fond of heights and felt real uncomfortable on some of the steeper parts, so she ended up waiting for us.


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