Rinconada Trail

HARD 9 reviews

Rinconada Trail is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Santa Margarita, CA that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

4.7 miles 1033 feet Loop

dogs on leash



mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

horseback riding


wild flowers




Mountain country, lots of live oak trees, shrubs and wildlife. Really nice views from top. The Rinconada Trail connects Pozo Road with the unpaved Hi Mountain Lookout Road in the Santa Lucia District of Los Padres National Forest. The trailhead is located on the south side of Pozo Road, roughly halfway between the turn-off for Santa Margarita Lake and Pozo. A sign indicates the turn-off to the short unpaved road to the trailhead. The trail starts on the east side of the trailhead parking lot, climbing steeply south through grassy meadows and oak woodlands to emerge into open chaparral. Just past a cattle gate, it reaches a broad saddle with excellent views south into the Santa Lucia Wilderness.

1 month ago

Loved this hike! Just started getting back into hiking as a hobby. The loop took me 2.5 hours. I started at 9:30am and was done by 12pm. Perfect morning hike! I took my time too stopping pretty frequently to take pictures of the scenery and for water breaks. You could totally complete the entire loop in way less time. Plenty other area to explore off this hike too. Next time I'll check out Little or Big Falls. Can't wait! I went on a Monday morning and had the trail all to myself. Beautiful day too. I'd recommend taking a light jacket for when you get higher on the trail. Temperature dropped a bit and wind picked up. Great hike!

7 months ago

Okay I have to admit, after hiking in the eastern Sierras for the past ten years, I thought there were few trails along the Central Coast that could kick my butt. I found one. This is a great trail to get the heart pumping, enjoying the landscape, see wildflowers and enjoy the Santa Lucia Wilderness.

9 months ago


1 year ago

This is an excellent trail, but it's currently CLOSED to public entry due to the Cuesta Fire. It doesn't appear that the trail itself has burned, but the Closure Order is in effect through October 1, 2015. Assuming another fire doesn't start between now and then, the closure will probably be lifted at that time, as the Cuesta Fire is currently 90% contained and well to the west of the trail. See Closure Order below:

2 years ago

Beautiful trail! The route that is on the map is 4 miles, but it's easy to make it longer by heading toward the lookout tower (east) on the Forest Service road. The main trail is well marked, so no worries about getting lost.

3 years ago

Excellent views! It's pretty steep with it's 1664ft elevation gain in 3.29m - but otherwise not difficult. No obstacles or problems. This is nice in winter, will be very hot in summer. It was a beautiful day today after strong rains the past few days, so there was mud, but totally manageable. The above distance does not include going to the mine or waterfalls. Which I stayed away from only because there were guys shooting... and I don't trust folks with guns. At the trailhead there is water for horses and the parking area is large, level and shady and will accomodate horse trailers.

I didn't see anybody on the trail today and saw no fresh footprints either. But there were people at the mine and in the parking lot.

4 years ago

This is a beautiful trail in a lightly-used corner of the Los Padres National Forest. Easy access from a paved road makes it relatively popular. Best time of year to go is in the early spring, when the grass is green, the flowers are in bloom, and the weather is neither too hot nor too cold.

4 years ago

A beautiful trail but the steepness is underexaggerated. Trails can get confusing due to lack of adequate signage. The old mine is interesting and the views are spectacular. Have not seen the falls yet but will return and update review afterward.

5 years ago

This is a cool trail either way you do it. You can do it in 1.5 miles or less if you go to the right of the parking lot. You can explore around the mine, I do not suggest going in unless you know what you are doing of course. Hot in the summer time, but rewarded with the mine and the cool old building on the bluff. You can explore all around and great views.