Mt. Rubidoux is one of Riverside’s 51 City Parks and the historic Serra Cross sits at its peak. In 2012 the City received a complaint that the cross violated the separation of church and state and legal action was threatened. In response, City Council voted to publicly auction 0.43 acres at the top of Mt. Rubidoux, including the historic Serra Cross, with no favoritism toward potential bidders.
Totally Mt. Rubidoux, a partnership between Friends of Mt. Rubidoux, The Mission Inn Foundation & Museum, and Rivers & Lands Conservancy (formerly Riverside Land Conservancy) was formed to raise awareness and funds to purchase the peak during the auction.
The community rallied, raising nearly $260,000 in an unprecedented campaign that demonstrated how meaningful Mt. Rubidoux is to not just Riverside residents, but people far and wide who have stood at the peak.
In 2013 and Rivers & Lands Conservancy (RLC), an accredited land trust, purchased the peak for $10,500.
Funds were set aside to support the first three years of monitoring and stewardship of the property as well as for education and outreach. The remaining funds, a little over $190,000, were invested in a non-wasting endowment so that the interest earned could support the care of Mt. Rubidoux Peak in perpetuity.
Your Mt. Rubidoux Peak
There were over a thousand donations that made this possible and today you can visit the peak and see the names of those who contributed. Truly, Mt. Rubidoux Peak belongs to the community, because so many made its preservation possible.
Rivers & Lands Conservancy continues to monitor and maintain the peak.
In our first major repairs to Mt. Rubidoux Peak, in 2017, the Serra Cross received some well-deserved attention. After suffering lightning strike damage, the cross became an inviting home to a colony of bees. The bees were kind enough to relocate on their own, but repairing and renovating a 35-foot cross is not a small endeavor.
Bring in the Steeplejack!
The work required a professional steeplejack, a craftsman who scales buildings, chimneys and church steeples to carry out repairs or maintenance. Our steeplejack turned a few heads as he perched on the cross, but was able to repair the damage, ensuring the cross would not host any more hives. He also power-washed and painted the Serra Cross, beautifying as well as bee-proofing the iconic landmark.
Since its earliest incarnation in 1907, Serra Cross has towered above Riverside, punctuating Mt. Rubidoux. Over 111 years later it’s still standing tall, looking great and ready to welcome you at the highest point of the hill.
Now that the Serra Cross has been repaired and renovated, it's time to give some attention to the cement benches below it. While the interest earned on the current Mt. Rubidoux Peak endowment helps cover average stewardship expenses, is not enough to cover the cost of such extensive repairs. We need your help!