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Hiking and Apple Pie at the Oak Glen Preserve

Photo by David Lockeretz of Nobody Hikes in L.A.
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By David Lockeretz of Nobody Hikes in L.A. / Special to LAist

It’s easy to feel as if you’ve seen it all when you live in Los Angeles. After all, Angelenos have access to the some of the best entertainment, restaurants and recreation on the planet. But there are a few places in Southern California that can still surprise and delight, if you know where to find them. Case in point: Oak Glen.

Oak Glen is a small community in the mountains northeast of San Bernardino, known for its family farms and rustic setting. For many L.A. and Orange County residents, it’s quite a haul, but the activities and scenery here makes it a very worthwhile day trip. Upon first arriving at Oak Glen, it might be easy to assume that you took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in New England or the Appalachians. No; you are very much still in Southern California, but at a mile above sea level, higher than the desert and the heat of the inland valleys, it may be hard to believe. Just east of town, the Oak Glen Preserve is open Wednesday through Sunday for recreation.

The hiking trails of the Oak Glen Preserve are short, but very scenic. The views include the taller peaks of the San Gorgoino Mountains to the north and the San Jacinto Mountains to the south. The park’s high elevation creates an ideal environment for the wetlands and trees here. After a trip to the Oak Glen Preserve, during the fall, you can indulge in something that NO other Los Angeles hike offers: hot, home-made apple pie at the nearby Los Rios bakery. Other attractions at the Oak Glen Preserve include live music on the weekends, shopping, a petting zoo and apple picking.

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The Oak Glen preserve is at 39611 Oak Glen Road. From I-10 in Yucaipa, take the Oak Glen exit and go east for 11.3 miles. The preserve is on the right (south) side of the road. Hours are 10am - 5pm, Wednesday through Sunday (the hiking trails are only open on the weekend.) Apple season runs through Thanksgiving weekend.

Who needs New England?