The Claremont Hills Wilderness Park opened in 1996 with 1,440 acres. The 2008 incorporation of Johnson's Pasture increased the park to 1,620 acres. The park was dedicated as a City Nature Park in 1997. Park boundaries include Marshall Canyon to the West, Angeles National Forest to the North, and San Bernardino County line to the East. Park elevation varies from 1,800 to 3,000 feet.
The earliest known inhabitants of the area were the Serrano (highlander) Indians. A nomadic people, they lived where they found water. The Serrano Indians belonged to the Shoshonean division of the Uto-Aztecan linguistic family, a group that includes such diverse peoples as the Aztecs of Mexico; the Hopi, Papago and Pima of Arizona; the Ute of Colorado and Utah; as well as the neighboring tribes of the Cahuilla, the Luseno, and the Copeno. The best documented evidence of their presence is on Indian Hill, a mesa located near what is now the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens. The Claremont area became part of Mission San Gabriel founded in 1771. The Native Americans who lived here at that time became know as the Gabrielenos, also known as the Tongva. They are small bands of hunter-gatherers and their placenames may be familiar. For example, Azusa and Cahuenga.
A partnership with the Claremont Hills Conservation Corporation helps to ensure the continued vitality of the park. The board of the CHCC is responsible for assessing human impact on the park. If the board finds that human impact on the park is more than minimal, they can recommend that City ownership of the park be rescinded.
The Claremont Hills Wilderness Park Management Plan was created to provide general guidelines concerning park management for City officials with the goal of preserving the natural characteristics of the park while providing visitors the opportunity for passive and recreational enjoyment of the park.
The City is conducting research and analysis for a Wilderness Master Plan. The City has hired MIG Consulting to conduct the study and gather input from park users, residents, and community groups.
Parking for the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park is located at the park entrance on Mills Avenue and at the corner of Mills Avenue and Mt. Baldy Road. Parking in these lots are by permit only. Parking permits may be purchased annually for $100 in January and pro rated throughout the year. Daily parking permits are available for $3. The Mills/Mt. Baldy southern lot uses annual, daily and resident parking permits. There is no street parking along much of Mills Road and Mt. Baldy.
When visiting the Claremont Hills Wilderness Park, please be aware of areas that are designated as "Parking By Permit Only". Unauthorized vehicles may be towed.