The prominent “R” that proudly stands on the hillside of the San Bernardino Mountains is a historical landmark, a part of our alma mater, and a 109-year-old source of pride for current students and alumni alike. According to the University of Redlands Administration, none of that will change any time soon.
On Feb. 10, University Communications issued a statement to the community via email in an apparent effort to get ahead of a Redlands Community News story breaking that the University of Redlands “R” would not be allowed to remain. University Communications anticipated the story would claim that the U.S. Forest Service will henceforth prohibit maintenance of the “R.”
In striking contrast to the rest of the email body, University Communications wrote in enlarged, bolded text: “This story is untrue.”
It is clear that the University of Redlands takes pride in the “R,” as the university’s official website maintains a page dedicated to its history and significance. According to the page, the “R” is one of the largest collegiate letters in the country, with a height of 415 feet and a width of 275 feet.
After being neglected in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Greg Horn ‘87 led a series of 21 trips up the mountain to restore the “R” to its former glory. Since then, students and alumni have made the trek up the mountain each year with rakes and shovels to make sure the “R” remains clearly visible from campus.
In spite of the allegedly false claims made in the Redlands Community News story that has since been deleted, the regular maintenance trips will continue.
The “R” was last cleaned up in November 2021, when Scott Lacy ‘90 led several dedicated students and alumni up the mountain. In a Facebook post shared by University of Redlands Alumni and Friends, the administrator of the page stated, “We look forward to another trip in the Spring.” Indeed, the next university-sponsored hike to the “R” is scheduled for April 9.
The “R” is accessible to all in the area in the area, should you prefer to visit on your own time. AllTrails defines the Redlands R hike as a “two-mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Running Springs, California that features beautiful wildflowers and is rated as moderate.” The trail is accessible year-round.
One user described the hike as “tough, no shade, super treacherous.” Several others complained that the trail was difficult to navigate as there was no clear path; and one person, who rated the hike one star, quipped that the hike demands the “mental fortitude of a Navy SEAL.” If it’s any consolation, multiple users indicated they appreciated the views.
Specific details about the upcoming university-sponsored hike in April will be released soon. For any questions or concerns, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cover photo provided by Bulldog photographer Kyle Eaton.