Harding Truck Trail is a 27.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Trabuco Canyon, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from March until October.
26 miles up and back to Santiago Peak if you take the shortcut near the summit. 28 miles up and back if you don't. It took me 8 hours and 15 minutes hiking, but plenty of people can do it in less. I just can't trail run anymore on account of my knees. It's not hard, but it is long
Fireroad with a double-track feel throughout due to fallen rocks. I have biked this trail numerous times to get to four corners, modjeska peak, and santiago peak. From a biking perspective, the trail is appreciated as a straightforward (depending on fitness level) route to get to the top of the mountain to explore other trails like Joplin and Holy Jim. Because the climb is constant, the views are continuously changing.
I don't really recommend this for hiking the entirety as it is long and relatively uninteresting way to get to the top with very little shade (90% sun exposure). Partial hike up the trail is a better choice to get up to the benches to enjoy the canyon views.
Went up partially with the dog - yes it is a good dog friendly OC trail. Moderate trail, very exposed to the sun. Easy to find the trail head, right new the bird sanctuary parking. Good hike for kids!
Love to bike up Harding Truck trail for a great workout. The laurel springs is always a great spot to stop and drink some water (filtered of course) and cool off. The spring area has many large fallen trees blocking access, but has been recently cleared by myself to gain better access. Now its much easier to go to the spring and cool off and continue up to Santiago Peak.
Good hike to get the elevation and the views are great. Hot and dry! Will go back between December and March as recommended.
Great, moderate trail. Easy to hike. Best on a Spring sunset.
We are going to Yosemite in a couple of weeks and feeling we needed a warm-up hike, decided to try ourselves out on the Harding Truck Trail. I'm still not sure how long this trail is as there seems to be a lot of misleading information so I took my little E-Trek GPS. We decided we'd do five miles each way and just as the E-Trek reached that magic figure, there was a large rock on the right side of the trail. This was further than we'd hiked up there before and as we were shrouded in mist we have no idea what the scenery was like. The wild flowers, however, were a joy, and just got better as we got higher. We even came across some thistles, the first I've seen in parched SoCal. We were at an elevation of about 3400 feet at that point which seems to jive well with NatGeo's trail map [Don't take any notice of the indicated start point by the way, whoever heard of a trailhead two thirds of the way along the trail?! The trailhead is just opposite the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary on Modjeska Canyon Road.] The fairly steep climb certainly put my arthritic knee through its paces but also gave me the opportunity to prove to myself the usefulness of a a good pair of hilking poles, especially on the way down! Very glad that we had such a dull day as previous visits to the trail have been a sweaty process, necessitating large amounts of one's favourite liquid, water favourably!
Did the full Harding to Santiago peak back at the end of July. With no shortcuts, the Strava iPhone app put it at just over 28 miles, and 5.1k vert. Started at 0530 ended up finishing in just over 9 hours elapsed. 6 liters of water in 85-90 degree heat was not enough. Started rationing about a mile below four corners on the way down - but that's really on me for drinking like a horse on the way up.
Bring plenty of water, some good music, and this is one of the best mildly strenuous hikes (in my opinion) that you can do in the Santa Ana Mountains.
Our plan was to hike to Laurel Springs ... other reviews said it was 9 miles round trip ... WRONG ... we later found out it was 9 miles one way. We did get a late start (11:00am), so the lack of shade was brutal. We ended up going out 5 miles (still climbing at this point) before turning around. I took 4 liters of fluid and was glad I did. We might try it again ... but much later in the year.
I was looking for a "Harding Truck Trail to Santiago Peak", but seems I'll have to make do with this one. Still feeling my way around this site. This is a 25.8 mile roundtrip hike to the peak if you use the little cutoff trail that veers left at the curve about a mile before the summit.
This hike has many flavors depending on the season and the weather. I just did this yesterday after the heavy rains and during light misting during 8/10 of the trip. It took me 4 hr.s 15 mins to do the 12.9 miles to the summit. There was not a single person on the trail, as I started at 4:30 AM and the road was muddy.
I summited at 8:45 AM
Immediately upon arriving a quad showed up and they were looking for their mountain biker friend who had done the trail the previous day and had called to say he was injured and didn't know where he was. I read in the paper this morning that they found his body ( hypothermia) ,close to where we were.
I believe if I had not taken the short cut, I MAY have been the one to find his body. Just a tragic reminder to be safe and use your brain.