Trailhead: Hidden Springs Park: Hidden Springs Dr, Moreno Valley, CA 92557
Length: 4 miles RT
Elevation Gain: 1300 ft.
Total time: 2.5 hrs
Parking: If you do this during the day you can park in the park’s lot. If you do it at night do not park there unless you plan on sleeping in your car overnight because they’ll lock you in. I recommend parking in one of the neighborhoods nearby and walking to the trailhead from there.
Every year the City of Moreno Valley lights up the M on the side of the mountain. Last year Alex and I planned to hike it last year but it started raining and I was like “Wahhhhhhh rain!”
This year we decided to try again and take the Blue Mountain Crew up for some holiday festivities. We planned to meet at 5:30 p.m. with Alex leading the way, but he was running late and we were getting cold, so part of the group decided to start the climb.
I’d hiked to the M three times prior to this adventure, twice using the Hidden Springs trail and once via Box Springs, but all in the daylight and all with someone else leading. So as you can guess… I got us kinda lost. But if you really think about it, Alex was the one who was late, so it’s basically HIS fault!
Anyway, to avoid the mistake I made, go to the left when you get to the upper parking lot, not to the right, even though there is a sign that says “Trail” that is very misleading. If you go to the left you will climb steadily up the trail and across the ridge which will give you views of the city below:
The trail branches off quite a lot, but as long as you stay going upward and to the left for the first section, you should be fine.
You will come to a traverse between two different sections of the mountain, and then begin curving off to the right. Again, just keep heading up the trail. Right as you curve around the mountain you should see the M lit up in the distance.
Usually the M is just lit up with white lights but this year the City made it a sweet, sweet light show!
When you get to the bottom of the M, the trail becomes fairly steep fairly quickly. Keep climbing until you get to the M. When you get up there be sure to touch it BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE RULES! If you don’t actually touch the M it means you weren’t actually there. Or you can do what we did and stand on it.
We also scrambled up the top of the M for some more amazing views:
Sang the Blue Mountain Crew anthem:
Listened to words of wisdom from Katie:
And watched Alex… I guess we call this dancing?
After we had our fill of Christmas cheer, we headed back down.
All in all this ended up being one of my favorite hikes of the year. A good workout with a fun destination. Some things to note about doing this in the dark:
- There are sections that are very steep and slippery, especially when you get to the M. Wear good traction!
- The M has great grip, but the constant changing of the lights is blinding so, y’know, be careful
- I mentioned this at the beginning buuuuuut… DON’T PARK IN THE PARK PARKING LOT AFTER DARK, BRO! THEY WILL CLOSE THE GATE AND YOU’LL GET STUCK!
The lights should be up until New Year’s day. Happy Holidays!