Do you prefer hiking Riverside’s Mount Rubidoux when it’s buzzing with activity, or do you seek peaceful solitude on the mountaintop?
Either way, the city is starting to collect data that could help you plan your visit.
In June, counters were installed by the mountain’s two main entrances – at Ninth Street and at Glenwood Drive – to track how many people use the popular park and when.
With roughly nine months of data now available, parks officials are beginning to crunch the numbers. The counters don’t catch people who use one of several unofficial entrances, such as from Carlson Park on the mountain’s north side, but city Trails Coordinator Alisa Sramala said those hikers are a small fraction of total users.
From early June 2016 – the counters were turned on June 4 – through February, the busiest month was August, with 61,185 visitors, city figures show. December saw the fewest visitors, with 35,225 people trekking the mountain. Nearly 460,000 people visited the park from June through February.
Over the nine-month period, Saturdays were busiest, with an average of 1,978 visitors. Fridays were least popular, seeing an average of 1,340 people.
Also not surprisingly, hourly average counts showed visitors peaked from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on weekends and weekdays, with a weekday evening spike between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The data showed people in the park at all hours of the day, even though it’s supposed to be closed at night.
“I mainly like to come during the week because there’s less people,” said Brian Hadnot, 43, as he finished a hike on Wednesday, March 8. He makes the 10-minute drive from his Bloomington home about twice a week.
In summer, Hadnot visits the mountain in the evening to watch the sunset. He’s noticed how people interact corresponds to the time of day, he said.
“in the mornings … strangers will say hi and say good morning to you,” Hadnot said. “In the evenings they don’t say much to you.”
Other visitors say they don’t mind rubbing elbows with other hikers.
“Any day is a good day to come,” said Jamie Pack, a 36-year-old Moreno Valley resident. “I like it when it’s active.”
Her friend, 31-year-old Emily Kaufman of Riverside, said the attractions are a great view and exercise, ” and I can bring her,” referring to her Yorkie/poodle mix, Ruca.
Scott and Anne Lively, Riverside residents who said they’re in their “senior years,” keep the mountain in their regular rotation of walking spots but don’t have a preferred day to visit.
“This is one of the most beautiful hiking places I’ve ever seen,” Anne Lively said.