Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Mount Rubidoux

Map Riverside, California 92501

The Peace Tower and Peace Bridge of Mount Rubidoux
The Peace Tower and Peace Bridge of Mount Rubidoux

Mount Rubidoux
Mount Rubidoux

Mount Rubidoux is west of downtown Riverside and is both a city park and a landmark. Open from dawn until dusk, the park covers 161 acres, has three and a half miles of paved roads, plus several hiking trails. There are several paved paths to the top of the 1337 foot high granite mountain with the longer one being about two and a half miles. Two of the main paths to the top are very pleasant and make for a paved rather easy hike to the top, and as a result you will notice, pretty quickly by the number of parents with infants and toddlers, that the hike is perfect for those parents with strollers.

The Trails of Mt. Rubidoux
The Trails of Mt. Rubidoux
Looking out off Mt Rubidoux
Looking out off Mt Rubidoux

Formerly called Pachappa by the Luiseno Native Americans, the mountain is today named after Louis Rubidoux, who established Rancho Rubidoux in 1847 and at one time owned the mountain, having purchased it in 1852. It is also home to the oldest outdoor non-denominational Easter Sunrise service in the United States. The service is held at dawn at the giant cross that sits on top of Mount Rubidoux. This giant cross, sitting on the summit, can be seen from the nearby highway and is dedicated to Junipero Serra. The Serra Cross was put in place on April 26th, 1907, and it was replaced with a new cross on April 14th, 1963. In April 1909, Jacob Riis, a friend of President Theordore Roosevelt, suggested holding the Easter Sunrise service at the top of the mountain, and on April 11th, 1909, it happened. For over a hundred years now, it has been held, sometimes hosting tens of thousands of attendees, reaching its highest total in the 1920s with crowds of over 30,000.

The cross at Mt. Rubidoux
The cross at Mt. Rubidoux
The cross at Mt. Rubidoux
The cross at Mt. Rubidoux
The cross at Mt. Rubidoux
The cross at Mt. Rubidoux

Mount Rubiodoux also is home to the World Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge, which was built in 1925 and is a replica of the bridge in Alcantara, Spain. It is dedicated to Frank A. Miller, a local millionaire, who at one time owned the Mission Inn. The bridge has the worlds "World Peace" written on it, while the tower looks sorta like some old style prison tower, almost like it contains a cell what with the heavy door on it and the bars on all the window openings. There's also a tiny turret across the path from the tower.

World Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge
World Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge
World Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge
World Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge
World Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge
World Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge
World Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge
World Peace Tower and Friendship Bridge

The plaque above the door of the tower tells of the tower and bridge's dedication:

Peace with Justice for All Men

Anno Domini 1925
This bridge was built by
neighbors & friends of
Frank Augustus Miller
in recognition of his
constant labor in the
promotion of civic beauty
community righteousness
and
World Peace


Mount Rubidoux though has a sinister side, and there are many tales of the supernatural and paranormal. Beyond the traditional stories of ghosts haunting the mountainside at night, tall ghostly robed figures have been seen walking along the edge of the mountain. These figures have been described as eerily similar to the Dark Watchers that lurk in the mountains south of Monterey. They also bare some resemblance to the tales of equally tall robed figures that reside on Mount Shasta.

Looking down the trail from the bridge
Looking down the trail from the bridge
Top of the Tower
Top of the Tower
Looking up the Mountain
Looking up the Mountain
World Peace
World Peace

But the strange doesn't stop there. Shadow figures haunt the mountain along with the ghosts, and even demonic little elves or miniature demons get in on the act of tormenting hikers there. Small rocks and pebbles are rumored to be thrown at hikers by some unseen force. And at times these thrown rocks are attributed to these demonic elves, which also provide sinister cackles to accompany your hike. Most terrifying though is that something, again perhaps the demon elves, stack rocks into three pyramids on the trails right after the hikers pass. Hikers have turned around to see these pyramid piles formed behind them suddenly and mysteriously, their builders nowhere to be seen, and the speed with which it is done, impossible for mere mortals.

The Tower
The Tower
On the Bridge
On the Bridge
Nearby turret
Nearby turret
The Cross
The Cross

Besides ghosts, shadowy forces, strange tall robed beings, and demonic elves, there are some more mundane weirdness on the mountain. There are rumors of tunnels or possibly catacombs extending from the nearby Mission Inn all the way to Mount Rubidoux. Supposedly these tunnels date back to the days of the Prohibition and were used to smuggle alcohol, while others state they go off to a lost Chinatown. Some legends discuss an entire abandoned and buried downtown area from the late 1800s buried underground somewhere along these tunnels between Mount Rubidoux and the Mission Inn. Back at the Mission Inn, if these tunnels do exist, ghosts have been witnessed at the entrance, of course. The Mission Inn is also haunted, complete with a few haunted rooms for your stay. One of the inn's founders, Alice Miller, also haunts one of the rooms.



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Last Edited: 2020-09-19


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