Trails.com is merging with AllTrails! Please click here to read more.

Harding Truck Trail

HARD 67 reviews
#34 of 149 trails in

Harding Truck Trail is a 26.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Trabuco Canyon, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 26.5 miles Elevation Gain: 4,963 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no shade

Note: This trail is currently open to hikers and bikers only. For more information, please see https://www.fs.usda.gov/detailfull/cleveland/alerts-notices/?cid=stelprdb5340229

hiking
23 days ago

Great trail, ran and hiked this one around 8am. It was still somewhat cool but heat really picked up just before 9am. There are some shady spots but they are few, make sure you are well hydrated and fueled for this trail. I can see why local trail runners like to use this for elevation and hill training. This is certainly an ideal spot to work on those apsects to prep for ultras. I had some tailwind, hammer gel and a pro meal bar to get me thru, worked fine. I spotted what looked like tarantula hawks flying around the higher elevations. Didn't realize we had those out here in the O.C. Came across one rattler making its way slowly across the road, normal trail stuff. Passed a few hikers early in the morning but ran solo the rest of the time for 10 miles. Ultimately, the trail is what it is, you only get out of it what you put into it.

recorded Harding Truck Trail

hiking
28 days ago

Hike almost all by self, amazing canyons. Very hot first half about 87 degrees. Mid 70s farther up

hiking
no shade
rocky
2 months ago

Overall it should not be a particularly difficult hike (besides the length). It has gradual uphill and starts at low enough elevation. However, it was the most miserable hiking experience I have had. Make sure you have good shoes that will not irritate your feet and plenty of water. We took 11 hours and 9 of that was hiking. We also went through most of our 5L of water each with 4 miles left. We started around 6 am and the sun is relentless. Be safe and confident in your hiking, but I recommend other more fun hikes.

off road driving
closed
3 months ago

Gate was closed on 6/16/19. Harding Truck Trail was closed.

hiking
no shade
rocky
4 months ago

Started at the Sanctuary parking lot in Modjeska. Amazing Views all the way up. Especially from Laurel Springs up to the Main Divide. It took close to 5 hours to get up there but I did stop to take pictures and hang out at the springs for a bit. Not a lot of shade so sunscreen is a must along with tons of water. It’s pretty much uphill the entire way. Definitely worth it! Took Maple Springs back down to Silverado Canyon. Started at 8:30 am and finished around 5pm. I want to go back and see Santiago Peak which was another 1.5 miles up but didn’t think I would have enough time to make it down before dark. Overall, a great workout and incredible views. Your feet and legs will be sore for sure!

hiking
no shade
5 months ago

A very LONG hike but awesome. It seemed the only way to get to the top of Santiago Peak since there are trail closures from Holy Jim, we didn’t know of another way. (Apparently, there were as we came across some people at the top who came up a different way). We needed to get this out of the way now as it will be too warm after April to do it again. This is all fire roads so it is nice and wide. We started at 5:45 in the morning so the first mile was with headlamps. I recommend starting this trail early since you are completely exposed to the sun for the whole trail. We move pretty quick on the trails averaging 21 minutes per mile going up and 18 going down. So even though our actual moving time was 9-1/2 hours, we had another hour of stopping for lunch and snack breaks too. Beautiful wildflowers along the way. The rains we had this year made it the greenest I’ve ever seen it.

hiking
no shade
6 months ago

mountain biking
no shade
rocky
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

I did this alone and felt safe.I agree with Linda (previous post) bringing ibuprofen. I actually hugged my car when I was finished. Great steps though

hiking
10 months ago

We just did this yesterday from Modjeska Canyon, parked at the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary and hiked all the way up to Santiago Peak. It was 28.6 miles round-trip and took us nearly 13 hours! Really just did this as climbing Santiago Peak was on my bucket list, don’t need to ever do it again! Take a lot of water and snacks. We took headlamps too as we started in the dark and the last 2 hours we had to finish in the dark, which I would not recommend, poor judgement on our part and was awful! If you’re parking in Modjeska you may need to display in your car a Cleveland national forest pass which we already had. The views were cool, but this is not really a “pretty” hike. I would also suggest ibuprofen, 28.6 miles is a hell of a long hike, my hips started to ache after a while and the ibuprofen helped! Sunscreen too is an obvious thing to pack. Wear layers too, can be pretty cold in the parts with no sun exposure, and early morning and evening. We did this in November, temperature was perfect 75* was the high, would not suggest this in the summer months.

mountain biking
Saturday, May 26, 2018

Must park on side of road, where there is limited dirt parking. Great views.

hiking
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

had a great time!

hiking
Saturday, February 10, 2018

Love this hike! It’s definitely my go to! Suggest going in the morning as it’ll get super hot throughout the day as you hike up the mountain! The views get better and better the further you go!✨

hiking
Monday, August 14, 2017

Get there before 8 am., dry, hot and a constant grade up. View of valley floor from Orange to Mission Viejo. Mountain bikers flew down this trail, struggled going up.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

hdu

hiking
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

This is an up and back fire road trail. Pretty easy. parking gets full early so go early or a bit later when others are coming out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

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.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

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!

mountain biking
Monday, September 05, 2016

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.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Good hike to get the elevation and the views are great. Hot and dry! Will go back between December and March as recommended.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Great, moderate trail. Easy to hike. Best on a Spring sunset.

hiking
Saturday, January 02, 2016

Ok

hiking
Monday, May 25, 2015

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!

hiking
Tuesday, October 07, 2014

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.

hiking
Monday, July 21, 2014

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.

hiking
Monday, March 03, 2014

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.

hiking
Monday, January 13, 2014

Really great views and a really great cardio workout. We went in five miles and came back...We misread the sign and thought this one was only five in and five out. So at five we kept looking for some kind of landmark...DOH! Loved the views and it was a little overcast so it worked out great for us.

Load More

Featured Trails