Great hikes: Oakmont Park (Redlands CA)

Great hikes: Oakmont Park (Redlands CA)

In 2010, Carol Blaney moved with her family to the Inland Empire from Yosemite National Park, where as an interpretive park ranger she worked with Yosemite’s stunning scenery as her backdrop. The transition was helped when Blaney came across Redland’s Oakmont Park – she felt she had discovered a wild place. “It’s so full of life, with coyotes and hawks, cottontails and wildflowers that walking there rejuvenates the spirit. I’m really glad that the city is working so hard to protect Oakmont. It’s definitely a jewel in the Emerald Necklace,” she said.

It’s an especially nice time for a hike in the Redland Conservancy’s Oakmont Park, located where South Lane meets Sutherland Drive on the southeast side of Redlands. The chamise is greening up and the elderberry is putting on its bright green leaves, while the bees are finding the wild lilac that’s beginning to bloom throughout the park.

I’ve done several hikes there since December, and here’s what makes it a favorite area:

Great example of three native ecosystems

Walking, running or biking on the trails in Oakmont Park takes you through 3 ecosystems: mature chaparral, woodlands and a riparian area.

Chaparral (click here for more info) is the most extensive plant community in California, and its appreciation is growing. Chamise is the primary plant in Oakmont’s chaparral, along with black sage and buckwheat.

Shimmering Chamise

Shimmering Chamise

Shrubs include really large specimens of sugar bush, elderberry, and redberry, with the live oaks that dot the area giving Oakmont its name. On the north end, a creek supports frogs and birdlife.

Rich Wildlife  

On one trip, three red-tailed hawks were playing and soaring between taking rests in trees. My last trip a coyote loping up a sloping hill was the highlight, along with the constant calls of a raven couple. Cottontail rabbits and jackrabbits are plentiful (as noted in the coyote scat, it’s a favorite food source).

Oakmont offers great bird watching. In addition to ravens, red-tailed and sharp-shinned hawks, look for bluebirds, black-headed and Say’s phoebes, towhees (spotted and California), Nuttall’s woodpeckers, and California thrashers.

Bluebird perching in dead snag

Bluebird perching in dead snag

Be aware that there are also rattlesnakes. Bobcats, foxes and in the summer months, deer, are also sighted in Oakmont.

Distance/Trailhead: (Click here for map) The parking lot is where Sutherland Drive and South Lane meet. Oakridge Trail is an established trail 3.2 miles on long ithe western side of the park and provides a short uphill climb before traversing the hilltops. It provides great vistas of the San Timeteo Canyon and in the distance, the mountain ranges of the San Bernardino National Forest.

There are also numerous trails on the 172 acres of the park’s newly acquired land, which extends south from the park to Live Oak Canyon Road. The trails include level walking, traversing the river wash and a crisscrossing of trails on the hills. Many picnic tables are near the trailhead.

About Linda Richards

My goal is to educate about the science of nature in layperson speak, through my writing, science and education background. I grew up in the Chicago area, loved living in Minneapolis before gravitating to the West, which is now home.


  1. Great review of the Park. I’ve lived in Redlands since 1987, but just hiked these trails for the first time this week. Beautiful.

  2. I really enjoyed your post. I recently discovered this park and wrote a short walkthrough of a single loop on one of the shorter trails. I’m going to document all of the Redlands official trails on my personal blog.

  3. Theresa McLemore says:

    The name of the plant you could not ID is: Chlorogalum pomeridianum

    Chlorogalum pomeridianum, the wavy-leafed soap plant, California soaproot, or Amole, is the most common and most widely distributed of the soap plants, soaproots or amoles, which make up the genus Chlorogalum of flowering plants.[1] It is occasionally known as the “wild potato”, but given the plant’s lack of either resemblance or relationship to the potato, this name is not recommended.

    It is found in most of California from the coasts to the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and in the Klamath Mountains in southwestern Oregon, but not in either state’s desert regions.[1] Wavy-leafed soap plant grows on rock bluffs, grasslands, chaparral, and in open woodlands.[1][2]

    Three varieties are recognized:

    Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. divaricatum — endemic to some coastal regions of California (the Central Coast and southern parts of the North Coast), found only at elevations below about 100 metres (330 ft).[3]
    Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. minus — endemic to the inner north and outer south Pacific Coast Ranges of California, and the San Francisco Bay Area. This variety has a less fibrous bulb than the others. On the CNPS Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants.[4]
    Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. pomeridianum, Nomlaki language: shlā — found throughout the range of the species.[5][6]

    It has medicinal, cleansing, cuisine properties.


    ^ a b c d Jepson Manual (1993) Chlorogalum pomeridianum . accessed 3.23.2013
    ^ NRCS—USDA: Chlorogalum pomeridianum
    ^ Calflora: Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. divaricatum
    ^ Calflora: Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. minus
    ^ Calflora: Chlorogalum pomeridianum var. pomeridianum
    ^ Chesnut, Victor King (1902). Plants used by the Indians of Mendocino County, California. Government Printing Office. p. 407. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
    ^ Soap Lilies in California, 1998
    ^ C.M. Hogan, 2008
    ^ a b c Univ. of Michigan: Species entry in Moerman’s Native American Ethnobotany Database: Chlorogalum pomeridianum
    External links
    Wikimedia Commons has media related to Chlorogalum pomeridianum.

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