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Los Pinos Peak via Bell View Trail

HARD 55 reviews
#37 of 152 trails in

Los Pinos Peak via Bell View Trail is a 13.5 mile lightly 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, trail running, and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 13.5 miles Elevation Gain: 4,274 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

over grown

rocky

washed out

no shade

This trail goes from Bell View Trail in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA to Los Pinos Peak. It goes along the ridgeline and is a very strenuous 8 miles one way hike to the peak. It is accessible all year round. This trail in pretty unknown to most and is not visible on most maps. It is extremely strenuous and entails going up and down several smaller peaks before ending at Los Pinos Peak. This trail can be either done point to point from Bell View trailhead and end at Blue Jay campground which would be a 12 mile point to point trail or a 17 mile out and back to Los pinos peak and back to the trailhead. The trail is however pretty well maintained and you would not get lost in it as it is pretty overgrown and there is only one way to go. It is recommended to carry a lot of water as it could get pretty hot in the summer months and a large part of the trail is exposed.

hiking
bugs
rocky
7 days ago

This is a hard one Serious uphill with loose gravel

hiking
no shade
over grown
rocky
1 month ago

Almost no shade. Lost of loose rocks, rutted and overgrown near top. No parking permit required and there are no restrooms. New flag at Bell Peak Long, hard, hot trail.

running
no shade
off trail
2 months ago

Great trail, very strenuous, hot in summer will need lots of water. Isolated, exposed, fantastic views.

hiking
no shade
over grown
2 months ago

First half was lovely, but then the overgrowth became annoying. I was running with bare legs and no shirt on, so I turned around before reaching the peak, but I met another guy out there who made it to the end. Be mindful of the heat this time of year as it's completely exposed.

This is not something you should try in the full heat of summer. Even on a cloudy day like today, I needed over 2liters of water. Stunning location and challenging hills!

5 months ago

Hiked past the flag, turned it into 5 miles. Very hard, bring poles, water and snacks! My feet hurt.

hiking
closed
no shade
rocky
5 months ago

My wife and I hiked this back in late October 2016 in drizzly cool weather. Due to the poor visibility, we made a navigation error and dropped down the Yaeger Mesa trail. That added another 600 steep vertical feet. As we climbed back up we found the trail split and decided to summit Los Pinos. We knew that would result in us finishing after dark, but we knew the lower section of this trail well. Make sure you take a GPS and download a track. Cell phones generally don't work out here. We also carry Spot for emergency satellite communication. We finished about an hour after sunset in the dark but had good headlamps and trekking poles. It is really unfortunate that the August 2018 Holy Jim Fire affected this trail.

Awesome trail, still had snow along the trail.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike. Didn’t make it to the peak bc we were competing with sunset. Did about 11 miles and it was a good challenge with great views. Crazy to believes it’s right behind a suburban area. We did see some fresh poop the further we got in that looked similar to a large cat.

10 months ago

Great hike!

hiking
Friday, June 29, 2018

Don't do this in the heat. Wait until cooler weather. Nearly had a heat incident because i also ran out of water (3L). Two rattlesnake encounters. The views at the peak were meh, but I went for the workout anyway. View of the trail is nice towards the peak tho. Edit: This trail and the peak are consumed in the Holy Fire.

hiking
Sunday, March 04, 2018

This trail humbled me tremendously. I was confident that I was going to run this whole thing but by mile 5 and 6 the steep hills got the best of me and my legs became to cramp up. So prepare lots of water, hiking poles, snacks and to take lots of breaks.

running
Tuesday, January 02, 2018

It's an ass kicker of a trail. It's definitely not moderate. 4500 feet of elevation gain and pretty close to 14 miles. Be prepared for the leg burn

hiking
over grown
washed out
Sunday, June 04, 2017

This trail is a butt kicker. This trail should only be attempted in cooler weather like in the winter. Make sure you bring at least 1 gallon of water. Also watch out for poison oak. The trail is not maintained at all. At one point I had to stop hiking break out my Swiss Army knife saw and cut down a big branch to hack my way through the poison oak that had overgrown both sides of the trail with nowhere to go but through it. Once you get to the peak you will be disappointed. No sign, no big peak with a 360 view- just tall bushes. If you make a left at the top you can see Lake Elsinore in the distance which is cool. The risks for this hike are running out of water, poison oak, twisting your ankle, and rattlesnakes. In the 1st mile, there is a shortcut to the flagpole which I highly recommend both ways. I walked on the road on the way home and it was long and boring. The best thing about this trail is that it's not maintained. You can also see a burn area, the Holy Jim parking lot, and 4 wheel drive vehicles rolling down the hill in Trabucco Canyon (jk). It's a long lonely hike. I doubt you will see anyone along the way. Have fun!

hiking
Monday, March 27, 2017

What an awesome and challenging hike. The actual trailhead is on Robinson Ranch Road, not at the GPS location on Meander Lane. You can't miss it! It is street parking only. Also, from the trailhead to Los Pinos Peak it is about 14 miles, not the 9.5 listed above. Four of us used a GPS to track the miles and we were all within a few tenths of each other. Except for mine. I had 15 miles, but I did some extra hiking along the way. The elevation on the Los Pinos Peak sign at read it was 4500'. This was pretty close to our GPS trackers. With that said, the challenge on this hike, aside from the distance, was the total elevation gain and some of the very steep ascents and descents. My total elevation gain was 5697'. That tells you there are a lot of elevation gains and losses (ups and downs) throughout this hike. Some parts of the climb are very strenuous and require some rock scrambling. Coming down is just as difficult as going up so be aware. I did this hike with an advanced level group of hikers and I would not recommend anyone do it solo. Mainly, because of the distance and the potential for injury due to the challenging ups and downs. Early on in the hike we saw lots of hikers. All of them only hiking up about 2 miles to the Flag and then turning back. Seems that is a popular hike and I would consider it moderate. Beyond that, we saw no one hiking on the trail. At the peak there was a large group that came up the Los Pinos Peak Trail. They were headed to the camp ground for the night and then on to other peaks. If you want the challenge and you are up for a strenuous hike this it. Just make sure you have others with you and you know what you are getting into. Bring lots of water. I carry 6 litters on most of my hikes. The conditions for us were cool, but I still drank about 3.5 litters. Bring lots of energy snacks and a lunch. This hike will drain your reserves! Happy Trails and Safe Hiking!

running
Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Challenging and fun.

hiking
Monday, September 05, 2016

Hiking trail

mountain biking
Sunday, August 07, 2016

Not a very good trail for MTB. Much better for hiking.

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Very challenging in summer, and that's just to the flag! Very nice, though. A suggested time to go is November through April.

hiking
Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Favorite trail in the Santa Ana's. There is a great place to stop for a bite/recharge just under halfway to Los Pinos Peak. Look for large rock outcrop (Large angular bloulders of light grey metamorphosed limestone... fairly rotten rock so I wouldn't try to get too crazy climbing the face of it) to left of trail, it is obscured by some bushes but if you crawl up on on the rocks there is an excellent view of Santiago Peak and upper Trabuco Canyon/ Holy Jim Canyon. Watch for rattlesnakes... I've seen a few on the ridge. You can also descend to Yeager Mesa from this trail but the trail down is obscured and you have to be looking for it... not even mentioning poison oak and other things that have overgrown the little used trail.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hard trail at the start. It even out a little after the flag, but expect lots of inclines the whole way. Great views of the ocean, very light traffic. Don't expect to see anyone past the flag

hiking
Thursday, March 13, 2014

This is a barely used pretty unknown trail. You really feel like you are in the wilderness on this one. The trail is very steep at places. Hiking poles are recommended.

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