Explore the best trails near Temecula with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
A buddy and me did an overnight. We went counterclockwise starting on Dripping Springs and coming down Wild Horse.
Dripping Springs starts steep almost immediately. It's not the steepest I've done but it's pretty good. You start to see Vail Lake as you climb with snow-capped mountains behind. Pretty spectacular views if you ask me. Careful though, if you don't like switchbacks this way won't be for you.
We lost sight of Vail Lake as we headed further south around a hill or two. Eventually the trail got seriously narrow and overgrown. There were some trees downed and low-lying brush. I'm pretty tall so branches to the face were commonplace. At one point, there was so much debris and downed trees covering the trail we weren't sure if we were still going in the right direction. To go with the trees and debris there was frost and sludge on the trail which led to some interesting foot placement.
Eventually we got to the halfway point which had a sign saying Cacta Trail. Don't go this way if you're doing the loop. Head towards Wild Horse.
We found a spot overlooking what we figured to be San Diego. As the sun went down the stars came out and we set-up camp. It was an amazing view with lights from the city and the stars above. Sleep was fitful due to the cold wind but it eventually came.
We woke early and got the camp taken down and all packed up. We headed out at first light down Wild Horse.
This trail was infinitely better than Dripping Springs...at first. It started nice and easy with leave cushioning every footfall. The trail was wide with tons of birds fluttering about. We made great time as we traversed this section. To come, however, was a much harder trail. The trail narrowed and became very rocky and full of gravel. We had to make sure to watch our step so as to not roll our ankles. More switchbacks and constant up and downs. It didn't seem like it would end until finally we hit the end.
I gave it four stars for the simple fact that it doesn't have a true "summit." It has some pretty awesome views but nothing too spectacular.