Joplin Truck Trail is a 13.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Trabuco Canyon, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October.
We started a lower Joplin first and there were no trespassing signs and wilderness preserve signs so decided to start at trail beginning at Trabuco canyon off Trabuco creek road. This looked to be a 4 wheel vehicle hot spot but after 1/4 miles at a 20% grade it quickly became a hike. From start to Joplin connector that connects to the Joplin trail start at rose canyon was 1.75 miles for a 750 ft climb.
From the connector down to old camp was about 2.25 miles. Lot of poison oak from old camp up to main dive road heading up to Modjeska peak. This was very tough for the next few miles and very very steep. Ran up to the peak and looped back. Very steep going down and it was hot. Probably 100 degrees. Best find was a natural water trickle at mile 4.75 in a shady spot. Trickle was enough to refill bottle and wet my head to cool down.
Next time I will start at live oak road near Hamilton.
The Joplin truck trail is really divided into two trails. The Upper Joplin, and the Lower Joplin yesterday, I did the Lower Joplin. I descended from the Santiago Truck Trail to where it connects with Rose Canyon. This hike always required you to walk through what was considered private property.
There's something going on with this area. It is now posted no trespassing with a lot of wilderness preserve signs everywhere. I don't know if the signs are keeping people out, but this trail is clearly no longer used. During several sections of this hike, our team was unable to find the trail. Downed trees and brush made finding the trail almost impossible at times. With all of the no trespassing signs and no trail maintenance, by the same time next year there will no longer be a Lower Joplin. You will never be able to go from the Main Divide Road down to Rose Canyon again.
I'm glad I was able to do this one final time, because there will be no other hikes on this trail for anybody.
The trailhead, though not hard to find, definitely lends itself to more of an offroading/motorbiking trail rather than a hiking trail. Definitely still a killer workout on the legs though due to the steep gradient. I'd still recommend hiking it despite the offroading trucks/bikes also joining you, plus you can get a physical workout while they sit in their cars. :) Most people were super pleasant/nice as long as you get out of their way.
There is a turn out on Trabuco canyon road. However this trail is a brutal way to get to the the truck trail. Very steep and washed out..
@Garrett Taylor I'm sorry that I misled you. I was turned around. I meant 1.75 miles and there is a turn of on the LEFT. Right before it there's a turnout on the left. It starts out as switchbacks and is pretty steep. You can see the trail on google maps.
No idea how to find this trailhead. Plano Trabuco Road to Trabuco Canyon Road...then the 1st right will lead you into the gravel parking lot which is the start to Trabuco Creek Rd (poorly maintained gravel the entire duration). This is not marked initially. An adventure pass is not required to park here. We followed the advice of the previous reviewer which stated that the trailhead is "off to the right of Trabuco Creek Road about 1.75 mi in from Plano Trabuco". There is a mis-type here somewhere, and since I never found the trailhead, I cannot be sure what it is. HOWEVER, we did park in the parking lot at the start of Trabuco Creek Road and started walking up Trabuco Creek Road. After 2.75 miles, and being left in many dust storms from off roading jeeps and trucks, you finally get direction: "2 miles to Holy Jim parking lot, 5 miles to falls". Off roading seems to be the main use of this area.
About 25 yards up Trabuco Canyon, after passing the parking lot at the start of Trabuco Creek, reference is made to "Joplin", however, there was still no trail head in sight for at least a mile up Rose Canyon Road. If somebody ever finds this trailhead, please let us know!
This is a great trail for local hikers! The trailhead starts off to the right of trabuco creek road about 1.75 miles in from Plano trabuco road. The trail starts climbing immediately with some switchbacks and then winds its way up the mountain to the left. Some parts are severely steep, so be careful when going down. About 2 miles in you reach Joplin trail and you take a right. You can hike until you hit a flat area where you can follow the trail down to old camp. Although it is mostly for full ablaze bikers, one can manage to hike the bike trail with caution. A few miles through trees and you merge out into the main divide. You can either turn back or take a right all the way up to Santiago peak. However, there is a shorter way up to the peak that is very unknown. It is called the power lines trail. At the flat area you continue straight and go through some brush. This next part you will need jeans due to the overgrown brush. The trail narrows and turns down about 75 feet. With caution you can wind your way through thick brush and up the trail until you hit the main divide, which is only one mile to the peak from there. From the bottom to the main divide, it is about one mile. Bush thwacking will be necessary too and the power lines part is extremely steep. Overall great hike and great experience. Will definitely do it again.