San Juan Trail is a 20.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near San Juan Capistrano, 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 and horses are also able to use this trail.
Directions from Hot Springs, CA: The lower trailhead is in Hot Spring Canyon 3/4 mile past the San Juan Fire Station. The upper trailhead is at Blue Jay Campground 2 miles north of the Ortega Highway on Long Canyon Road.
Initial ascent from Upper Hot Springs Road to Sugarloaf Peak, last part was a hidden bush scramble to the top but well worth it (even in the pouring rain).
shuttled it and started at the top. first five miles is two-thirds uphill, and treacherous at times. Overall not recommended for beginners but superfun all around. mostly all downhill after Cocktail Rock, five mile point. Only 7 miles down to the parking area at the Lazy W Ranch. 12 miles total.
The upper part above cocktail rock is super fun forest riding, below cocktail rock the trail is worn heavily, grooved due to heavy use with lots of switch backs.
Beautiful view at Cocktail Rock ❤️
Now I know why there weren't any recent checkins:(. This trail, while it has beautiful views and is a great workout with switchbacks, is primarily used for bikes. They were nice and no issues, but the condition of the trail is so deteriorated by the bikes that it is a chore to get up and down safely. It was like you were hiking a downward sloping river bed at times with a 6 inch wide trail that just sucked in your feet. We had fun and made it to the Cocktail Rocks, but my ankles and tendons are burning and touchy today. Just be careful, bring bug spray, sunscreen and plenty of water.
Love this trail , specially after a rain . So peaceful.
Really great trail, but...the Mtn Bikers and water have created some serious erosion on the trail. It is like walking in a V-shaped gully for much of it. It is all uphill...until you decide to turn around and come down...then its all downhill...need a good set of poles to help navigate the gullies.Beautiful vistas. Loved the hike. Start early and watch out for Mtn Bikers.
Moderately tough hike on the way up but nothing too crazy. It will take you a couple hours a decent pace. Much easier on the way back down. I did spot fresh mountain lion tracks so just watch and listen for your surroundings. They are scared of people so just make lots of noise and make yourself look big if you spot one. Amazing views that are extremely worth it. Would recommend going on a rainy day for an amazing rainbow view from the top.
This is the first trail I've ridden while being in Socal. I took my downhill bike here, not sure what to expect. I came in late afternoon around 4 and climbed/pushed for about an hour and got to about 7 miles before I started noticing the sun was about to hide behind the mountains so I had to start my ride back down. Lots of awesome scenery, a few scary washouts, and more switchbacks than I can remember. Absolutely love this trail. Next time I'm bringing my hardtail in the morning and getting all the way to the top. A few relentless technical sections and ruts the whole way down. Definitely going back
Great ride honestly it's my favorite all around trail. hard going up, amazing coming down. Would recommend full face/goggles because brush flows onto trail and you get smacked a lot. I'm an avid rider. ALMOST a DH trail. Still would be great with DH if you cheat and drive to the top.
great trail. one of the best bike routes in the area. it is a difficult ride so beginners beware. steep climb with a great downhill for your reward.
Great uphill hike if you start on the OC side. Primarily used by mountain bikers it is still a great hike with spectacular views! The bikers share the trail and are very helpful with trail conditions and weather updates from the top of the trail. My 7 year old daughter made it up although I would not recommend it for kids under 12.