Agua Tibia Full Loop Trail

HARD 47 reviews
#2 of 4 trails in

Agua Tibia Full Loop Trail is a 19.8 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Temecula, California 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.

19.8 miles
3835 feet

dogs on leash





trail running


wild flowers


Note: It costs $5 to park if you don't have an adventure pass.

1 day ago

I did the loop yesterday, my first time. the loop is passable but be prepared to battle with trees and bushes as you make your way through the midpoint of the hike. overall it was a great day! love the vistas and the challenge, will be doing this one often!

2 months ago

Great Challenge of a hike. Bring Hedge clippers though and if you look it has amazing sites. You can even see the pacific half way through the loop.

6 months ago

Not realistically accessible at this time.
July 2017: excessive brush overgrowth, no foot traffic, and fallen trees have rendered the connecting trail loop between the 2 legs (dripping springs and wild horse) effectively inaccessible. As-is anticipate 2-3 hours to crawl your way through the bushes (gps needed when loosing the trail). If you really want to go through, I'd recommend bringing pruning/cutting equipment.

7 months ago

This was a great hike - very beautiful and very challenging -but we could not actually do the loop due to multiple fallen trees and a gigantic bee hive in one of the trees. Luckily we could cover enough ground back tracking and taking the other side of the loop. We could not make it all the way though that half either due to the trail not being maintained. All in all we got in plenty of miles but would have been nice to do the loop or at least finish one complete side.

7 months ago

My low rating is simply to draw attention to the fact that the trail is currently impassable due to being seriously overgrown. Travelling counter-clockwise, you're pretty much blocked about 1 mile past the end of the dripping springs trail.

The other thing to watch out for is that camp/tent sites are very limited (at least this weekend - May 28 after a rainy winter) because the foliage is super dense and the terrain is very steep. There's only 1 small site near the area where the trail becomes blocked, so be ready for an uneven tent site and possibly company since the only options are the 1 site or hike down the way you came.

The dripping springs trail section was nice. Great view the entire time. I'm sure the rest of the loop could be a lot of fun when it's passable. Just be sure to check conditions first.

7 months ago

Great day to hike

9 months ago

Serene & quiet, light traffic.

10 months ago

Wonderful views and wild flowers were in bloom.

10 months ago

Completed the full loop yesterday 2/19. So many downed trees, had to climb under at least 6. Be prepared to get soaked at the top. I took the counter clockwise route. Enjoy.

11 months ago

Lots of fallen trees and brush overgrowth along most of the Palomar- Magee Trail. No true peak.

11 months ago

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 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.

trail running
Monday, November 28, 2016

I went out with three friends on an early, drizzly Sunday morning for an inaugural counterclockwise run on this trail loop. Although the temperatures never reached 50 degrees, the constant effort kept us all sufficiently warm, except for the middle portion of the loop where we were up in the clouds and in near-constant contact with wet undergrowth. Water consumption, on the other hand, was WAY less than others experienced on sunny days!

It was a plenty challenging run that lived up to the "hard" classification, but the numerous scenic (mostly) foggy vistas and the company of friends made it all worthwhile.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Back again, this time with Amelia, to hit the whole loop and Eagle Crag as a backpacking trip. Highly recommended, although you have to bring a LOT of water. Great views and lots of Mountain Lion tracks on this one.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Great hike! Over 20 miles- you have to cut through the camping area once you park. There is about 4 free parking spaces to the immediate right as you pull in. If you blink you might miss them. It took me about 8.5 hours total with breaks. I started at Dripping Springs trail, counterclockwise route about 6:30am. I used 4-5 liters of water.

Mile 1 - 7. Very steep ascension. This is probably the toughest start to a long hike I've had. I hiked a day after it rained so many cougar prints! No sun in the morning, so be prepared, but you will warm up fast. Great view points throughout this side of the hike. If you are after views and selfies, this is the way to go.

Mile 8 - a great resting point. Assess whether you should go back at this point. Great view of north county San Diego.

Somewhere around the halfway point there is a sign for Cutca trail? I couldn't find anything for this trail on any map. Don't go that way. Follow the wild horse trail parallel to the way you came.

Mile 8 - 14 was great for birding! Tons of tohees, finches, thrashers, jays, hawks, and mountain quail to scare the heck out of you on every corner! A few down trees to maneuvers around. The trail is super wide and super narrow in spots. Lots of contact with brush. Also, a strange fire pit in the middle of the trail??

Mile 14 - 20 by far the toughest part of the hike! Lots of sun and switchbacks!! I had to hook up my back up bladder about a mile in. Make sure you have plenty of water. More down trees and up and down elevation all the way back. Did I mention the switchbacks? Because they never end all the way to the trail head.

I may try hiking clockwise the next time. It seems like it may be easier. Enjoy!!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Hiked the Agua Tibia Wilderness today, just east of Temecula. About 21 miles, nearly 4,000 feet in elevation gain, just over 7 hours. My longest hike yet in terms of distance. Went from desert chaparral, to oak forest, to pine forest. The Coulter Pines had pine cones as big as my head! Went through 4.5 liters of water. Trail was in mostly good shape, but there were some significant sections where you have to bushwhack. A number of sections you have to crawl under or over multiple fallen trees. Was planning on taking the small use trail to agua tibia peak but I must've missed it and didn't want to backtrack. I did the loop clockwise. A good hike!

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Great one night backpacking trail. Started up Dripping Springs Trail at noon. Camped at junction of Palomar McGee and Wild Horse Trail w/beautiful views. Went down Wildhorse as sun rose and finished at 11am.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Pretty good trail to train on. The sun is a factor, and it has a decent grade. It's all single track with rocky terrain, so no mountain bikers. I saw a snake on the trail ( harmless) and a raven circled over me on my way back. There were also flowering plants on the trail with some good views towards the top. When you get to the top it intersects with another trail which is another 10 miles I think. If you turn around at that point it will be s 14 mile hike. It costs $5 to park if you don't have an adventure pass, but it's a good trail to train on.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Hiked Agua Tibia Loop in one Day! Full loop Is said to be 20miles not 13; Nevertheless, finished in 7.5 hours. Started on Wild Horse Trail, seems as if starting on Dripping Springs would be harder, not sure though. Recommend it, However, not for The Faint at Heart Hiker.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Very fun walk up a great incline. Great scenery and great fun want to do the whole hike next time only went 6 miles but still very fun

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Did the whole Dripping Springs Wild Horse loop including Eagle Crag. Camped out at the summit. Great trail. Hardly saw anyone at all, but did see some cougar tracks towards the summit. Awesome hike with seriously unbelievable views.

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