nature trips


wild flowers

dogs on leash


trail running


mountain biking

kid friendly

dog friendly

horseback riding


off road driving


no dogs




Cleveland National Forest is the southernmost National Forest in the state of California. The Forest encompasses 460,000 acres in divided into the Descanso, Palomar and Trabuco Ranger Districts and is in the counties of San Diego, Riverside, and Orange County. The U.S. Forest Service requires National Forest Adventure Pass for parking in many areas of the Cleveland National Forest. Popular activities include enjoying the picnic areas, hitting up the hiking trails up Laguna Mountain and Palomar Mountain, horseback riding, mountain biking. This is also a great place for camping. The Cleveland National Forest has campgrounds in the Descanso, Palomar, and Trabuco Ranger District as well as dispersed camping for a fee. Visitors can also take a drive along the Sunrise Scenic Highway and off roaders will enjoy the Corral Canyon and Wildomar Off-Highway Vehicle Areas. The forest makes a great weekend trip from Los Angeles or other Southern California cities and is a great way to take in the Santa Ana Mountains.

Awason 1st time w/my family

off road driving
12 hours ago

Best place to go near San Diego. Everything from easy to very difficult. I’ve done all the trails, but bronco peak and bronco peak connector are my favorite. At least be equipped with a rear locker to tackle the connector.

It was a awesome drive it can be hard for car that are not 4 Wheel drive but it can be done so many awesome views of the surrounding areas. And there’s a café that we went to and it was really good if you ever want to try this trip was amazing

Great trail but to echo their reviewers, not a beginners hill. We made it up and down along with a lunch stop near the top in just over 3 hours. Love the signing books up top, cool to see the log over many years.

Just watch for the left turn with the brown metal post we missed it and had to double back.

Did Laguna to Pine Valley 10.5 miles. Being 64 somethings were challenging for me

Stunning views, lots of elevation gain, exposed to sun the whole way. Easy navigation.

Good hike with amazing views! Worth it.

Much harder than expected but incredibly rewarding! You will definitely need to be prepared to use your hands on the hike. Especially on the way back. It’s very steep and hard to grasp rocks at times because of the moving sand. Make sure to have plenty of water for the way back to the car. We drank most of ours before heading back up and it was a huge mistake!

Nice trail with plenty of shaded areas. Not very difficult but 4x4 is recomded.

I did the BLT > PCT loop, which I highly recommend starting with the BLT. I went towards the Noble Canyon trail, but took a left at the junction instead of continuing to Noble Canyon/Pine Valley. There were several mountain bikers as well. You'll know you're on the right trail when it says "To PCT".

About an hour in, you get to see the Laguna Meadows which was beautiful. I stopped at the Lake to eat my lunch. Getting back onto the trail, I got to a point where there was a fence with an opening in front of me and a mini wooden 5 foot long bridge on my right. I took the right, which lead to the PCT. I believe if you go straight, it leads to the campground.

Note: always follow the signs that says BLT TO PCT. If there isn't a PCT on the sign, don't go that way if you want to do the loop.

There were a couple other times where there was a junction and no sign, so I took out my map (which I uploaded to this page) and my iPhone compass, and easily found the right path.

The BLT is mostly meadows while the PCT is more mountains. The PCT was amazing, and when you reach the first junction on the PCT, you'll see a mountain to your right which you can quickly climb and see the amazing view. I would highly suggest this, it takes about 45 minutes there and back including pictures.

Getting pack onto the PCT, I stopped by Forester Point, which is an awesome spot to take a break and have a snack. Then I got back onto the PCT and finished. I got back around 5 (started at 11:30), and the sun was setting so I didn't get a chance to go up Garnet Peak. If you have another 2 miles in you, I heard it's pretty nice up there.

This took my 5 hours because I took a rather long lunch break at the Laguna Lake and hung out at Forester Point for a bit. The trails are very well kept and not much climbing whatsoever (unless if you are climbing up the mountain on the PCT to take pictures)

Overall, I highly recommend this for an easy 10 mile day hike. Easy as in your quads, butt, hamstrings, won't be on fire since it's a gradual incline. If you want, there are a good amount of camping spots on the PCT portion of the loop.

It is a relatively "short" hike but strenuous in parts. About a mile in, the trail slopes down significantly and the trail turns to sand in spots. Take your time and ease on down. At the bottom, then follow the creek up to boulder field at the bottom of the falls. There are arrows pointing the "easiest" way but go what works for you. Take in the sights and take your time. All worth the trip. Bring the right shoes and plenty of water. I suggest getting their real early as it is highly traveled and the 12 mile dirt road to the parking lot is about 1.5 car widths at most points.

Great workout, very steep with little flat areas. My favorite part was the lack of people, the various and thriving vegetation, the beautiful view, and little treasures left at the top.

The entrance is a little ways beyond the visitors sign, and it's a small opening in between a fence.

1 day ago

Very easy. Very short.

One of my favorite drives from dwntn SD. Views are endless all around. I would rate this a moderate hike compared to other ones I have done. Hiked it twice and always a place side of the road to park( only fits about 10 cars) .

Easy parking off i8. Arrived 930am on a Sunday. I was the only one there . Great incline for leg pump to start for about 25 minutes. Flattens off after for a bit. Trail is reddish clay and rocks. Easy trail to follow. Hike lasted 2.5 hours with a 10min break. Only car there when I left

2 days ago

Short hike down to the “falls”... more like stream, but I’ll take it! Very slippery along the water, even on the dry rocks. Check yourself for ticks after. Found tons on us and the dog. Very nice surroundings and shaded.

great hike! Viejas is one of my favorites and its only 30 mins from my house. first time taking this route. shorter than alternate. pretty rocky and narrow at times. began at 6 am and only ran in to 2 other people on their way down already. someone replaced the small American flag with a nice beautiful new one. the views are incredible at the top there's a rock wall and geo marker with vodkas on it. thank you to whoever did that! easy to follow trail up. its always pretty windy at top so if you're going early in the morning or later in the day layer up. on the way down the trail you'll come to a cleared area with rocks sometimes in different patterns, go right down that hill not straight. I did that then realized I was going the wrong way. oh and the coffee can needs a new notebook ill bring one next time in case someone doesn't.

This is the most physically demanding hike that I have ever done. Now, this means that a) I have not/do not hike all that much and b) I have R.A. & primary lymphedema in both legs so am already dealing w/ some physical things that most people are not. This also means that fully capable individuals have no room to complain here because if I did it, you can too! This hike goes straight up and is rocky and has no shade. However, after turning around and looking out toward the ocean for the first time about 30 minutes into the hike, I was sold. The views while going up as well as from the summit are stunning! Because the terrain did require a lot of attention, I really did not mind that there wasn’t all that much to look at while on the trail since it is pretty right much dirt, rocks, and low dry shrubs. Typical for this area though and did think how scary it would be if a fire came through this area since I felt like I truly wouldn’t be able to navigate out of there at any faster speed than my slow and steady march. Great feeling of accomplishment w/ this venture and literally took about five breaks going up but was fine w/ doing so because of the great vantage points-it’s pretty neat to look down at a plane flying below you! Definitely recommend shoes w/ a decent toe guard and rock plate; there are only about three stretches less than ten feet in length that are relatively rock free; this is far from a relaxing stroll for me at least and I would steer clear any day w/ a high UV Index or if it gets hotter than 75 degrees. In late November there was a nice breeze and the sun wasn’t as searing as other times of the year even though we have had no winter at all so far late 2017/early 2018. Hoping for a cool Spring so trying to squeeze as much inland hiking in while I still can!

3 days ago

love this trail, especially on a weekday when it isn't as busy. **Bring lots of water and snacks, hat & sunblock also advised.**

The first 3 miles are lots of full sun with a healthy incline (from 1100 ft to 3100 ft), with tons of switchbacks. The trail starts next to a newer housing development, and goes about 3/4 miles up between farms and a retreat. Then begins the beautiful chaparral forest with great views of the canyon below. About 1 mile up you can begin to see the top of Big Bear and Idyllwild mountain.

The middle 4 miles go through beautiful pine forest. Nice and shady, but lots of gnats on warmer days. At about mile 7.5 you will reach the top gate where it T's with North Main Divide. Here you can see Catalina on a clear day. Turning right will take you to the peak/ Holy Jim Trail.

The last 3 or so miles is lots of sun, and some oak forest (about 1/4th of the remaining trail.) the peak has great views on a clear day but isn't spectacularly beautiful itself.

9.5 hours round trip, walking ~ 2.8 mph with a lunch break. (your booty will hate you tomorrow.)

3 days ago

Drive in is funner than the hike.

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