Recovery at Box Springs Park

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Box Springs Mountain Park for Addiction Recovery

When most people enter into a comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction rehab treatment program, the last thing they would consider is heading out to Box Springs Mountain Park. Yet the stunning mountain offers so many excellent opportunities for recovering people to engage in sober activities that aid the recovery process.  Box Springs Mountain Park is dominated by the mountain. Box Springs Mountain is the highest peak in the park at a little over 3,080 feet (940 meters) and is easily one of the most prominent features of the area, hosting an array of telecommunication transmission towers.  The mountain is located in northwestern Riverside County, right next to the University of California Riverside campus and located to the east of downtown Riverside and spans around 1,155 acres. The entire Box Spring Mountain Park reserve spans a massive 3,400 acres of spectacular landscape scenery. 

Prominent Features 

On one side of the mountain is a huge letter ‘C’ made of poured concrete that stands around 132 feet high and around 70 feet wide.  On the Moreno Valley side of the mountain is a huge concrete letter ‘M’ that is around 100 feet wide and 50 feet tall.  Throughout some points of the year, the entire park is covered in Coastal Sage Scrub. After the rains, the flora on either side of the trails is often covered in lovely wildflowers in bright yellow, purple and orange. However, wildfires have decimated the natural scrub growth, allowing some non-native grasses, flowers and weeds to thrive in more recent time.

History of Box Springs Mountain Park 

It’s said that Box Springs Mountain Park gained its name at some point in the 1880s. The tale goes that horse-drawn wagons would stop to water the horses at a natural spring within the Arroyo during their travels. At one point, someone built a box around the spring to make water access easier, which led to the mountain’s name. 

4 Ways Box Springs Mountain Park Helps Recovery 

There are four primary ways Box Springs Mountain Park can help people in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.   The most notable ways visiting the park can help recovery include: 


There are more than 15 miles of hiking trails to explore at varying levels of difficulty throughout the park. Some are quite steep and can be somewhat challenging, while others are better suited to those who simply want an easier, more relaxed hiking experience. There are also some small freshwater streams and little waterfalls along the way on some trails.  If you haven’t been to the Box Spring Mountain Park before, begin your trek at the picnic tables. You’ll find some helpful signs and maps on the board by the tables that offer a fair indication of the difficulty level of each of the trails available.  Choose ones that match your fitness levels

and work your way through the park at your leisure. Research shows that people who engage in regular exercise and physicalactivity are less likely to abuse illicit drugs and alcohol. Hiking is the ideal way to get some extra exercise into your week at the same time as getting outside into the sunshine that can help boost your vitamin D levels naturally too.  Some common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency might include fatigue and excessive tiredness, bone and muscle pain, hair loss, bone weakness, and depression. Just spending some time outdoors in the sunshine at any time of year can help to boost your body’s vitamin D levels, which can elevate your mood, improve your physical health and leave you feeling better. You don’t need to become a fitness fanatic to realize the benefits of exercising. In fact, a leisurely stroll or relaxed hike through nature can provide the same benefits that still contribute towards your overall recovery.

Stunning Views 

Perhaps one of the more underestimated benefits of visiting Box Springs Mountain Park is the opportunity to enjoy the panoramic views over downtown Riverside and Moreno Valley. You have the chance to climb to the top of the letter M to see the spectacular sunrise in the early morning or take a different trail and climb to the letter C to enjoy the stunning sunset views in the evening.  Even if you don’t go to Box Springs Mountain Park for the exercise, the breathtaking views are worth the visit at any time of the day.  Once you’ve reached your destination along any of the hiking trails available, there is an additional opportunity to spend some time meditating or just sit in quiet reflection away from the noise of the city.  When you’re ready to return to the hustle and bustle of the city after spending some time out in the park on your own, you’ll feel more relaxed and far less stressed. You might also find that any residual cravings or feelings of post-acute withdrawal syndrome have also subsided, leaving you with a renewed sense of motivation to stay abstinent.

Natural Wildlife Habitat 

When you visit Box Springs Mountain Park, you might notice there are signs near the entrance and by the picnic tables notifying you of the various species of natural wildlife in the area.  As you hike through the park, you have an opportunity to spot such varied species that might include rattlesnakes, coyotes, lizards, bobcats, mountain lions, bears, deer, and wild donkeys (burros). There are also more than 85 bird species in the area to try and spot, including American kestrels, hummingbirds, wrens, meadowlarks, golden eagles, turkey vultures and sage sparrows.  During your next trip to Box Springs Mountain Park, try to see how many different varieties of natural wildlife you can spot. You’ll be surprised by how many there are right alongside the trails.

Rock Climbing 

Box Springs Mountain Park offers some opportunities to try your hand at rock climbing. If hiking is too sedate for your mood when you visit, keep in mind that rock climbing can be a great way to promote your body’s natural release of endorphins and adrenaline (epinephrine). Not only will the endorphin release make you feel good, but the added adrenaline rush of climbing sheer granite rock faces is also a healthy way to get the heart pumping.  It’s possible to climb up six primary walls of good granite over short distances, so it’s the ideal place for learning to negotiate rock faces or just enjoying a short climb because you can. There are also many smaller boulders surrounding the granite climbing areas.  You’ll also find some rock walls with greater height to navigate within the park, but they are in more remote areas. If you’re up for the challenge, why not try your hand at the various rock climbing faces available in the park. You’ll be amazed by how satisfying it can be. 

Box Springs Mountain Park Basics

Fun for Furry Friends 

The park is also dog-friendly. Keep in mind that you will need to keep your dog on a leash during your visit.  There is an additional cost of $2 per dog if you’re visiting the park with your four-legged friend. If you do take your dog to the park with you, be prepared to carry extra water. The risk of dehydration for you and your four-legged friend is high during the warmer months. 

Getting to Box Springs Mountain Park 

The entrance to Box Springs Mountain Park is located off the CA-60 in Riverside behind the University of California Riverside campus. You’ll find two different parking areas available.  Currently, parking costs $5 and restrooms are available near the entrance.  Aside from Box Springs Mountain, there are several other mountain peaks within the park including Table Mountain and Sugarloaf Mountain. The park is open from 7 am to 7 pm each day. 

Volunteer Opportunities  

Box Springs Mountain Park also offers some volunteering opportunities. The benefits of volunteering your time and efforts are often underestimated, but for those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, those benefits can be significant. 

Building Purpose 

Many people recovering from addiction often struggle with a sense of purpose in life. Volunteering provides a sense of purpose and an opportunity to give something back to the community. Being a volunteer also enhances quality of life, as you’re more focused on your task and much less focused on feelings of self-pity. 

Building Community 

Volunteering your time helping to maintain the park also helps build a sense of community with other like-minded people and build new social connections that help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. 

You also have the opportunity to keep busy. Boredom is a serious threat for many people in the early stages of recovery, so having something to do on a regular basis makes it easier to stay motivated while filling your leisure time. 

Mental and Physical benefits 

Spending some of your leisure time at Box Springs Mountain Park also helps to improve both your mental and physical health. The Mountain provides the opportunity to spend time outdoors in nature, which boosting your vitamin D levels naturally. 

You also have the chance to enjoy some leisurely physical activity, allowing your body to release endorphins, helping you to feel good. When your body releases endorphins, you’ll also notice that your stress levels are reduced, which makes it easier to manage cravings and cope with the daily stresses of life. 

Relaxation and Reflection 

When you’re out in nature and away from the constant noise and pressure of the city, there are lots of opportunities to reflect and relax. Throughout your rehab treatment sessions, you would have learned the importance of finding natural ways to unwind and get away from the usual pressures of daily life. 

There is also the added social interaction factor to take into account. You have the opportunity to meet other volunteers as well as random hikers who also come into the park to enjoy some time outdoors in nature. 

Making the Most of Your Recovery 

Just as the reasons and triggers behind each person’s addiction are unique to them, the things that work for each person’s recovery journey are also individual. If you’re like most other people in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, it’s likely you would have spent a lot of time preoccupied with substance use before entering treatment. 

During recovery, its vital to long-term health to find other sober activities to help fill downtime in your days. During addiction rehab treatment programs, you have the advantage of attending highly structured treatment and therapy sessions each day, along with participating in group support sessions and joining in with various recreational activities. 

When you leave rehab it’s important that you have a variety of different sober activities to engage in during your leisure time. Whether you choose to spend time out in nature or engage in some physical activity or volunteer your time and effort to give back to the community, it’s your recovery journey. Only you will know which sober activities work best for your recovery. 

However, the only real way to learn what works and what doesn’t for your sobriety is to participate in all sober opportunities. You might be surprised at how much benefit you derive from the simplest of activities. 

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