Oriflamme and Chariot Canyons

HARD 13 reviews

Oriflamme and Chariot Canyons is a 10.7 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Julian, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and off road driving and is best used from November until March.

10.7 miles
2132 feet
Point to Point


off road driving



no dogs

off road driving
22 days ago

Completed this trail 02/24/2018 Via a 2004 Toyota Landcruiser with 32 inch tires no lift only side steps removed .starting in the Julian area and ended at the S2 . Trail has an unlocked gate might need 2 people 1 to hols the gate one to drive threw it . Trail is not difficult starting in Julian it can be completed in 4 high . There js a side trail approx 200 feet up a steep rutted hill at
33.047086 , 116.539230 . This trailed must be completed in 4lo and what ever traction aids your vehicle has turned on . I did manage to 3 wheel up the side trail and down the side trail with no damage. After completing this , the trail is uneven hardpack for a couple miles then you start and decent traveling next to a cliffside with baseball size rocks there is a squeeze at one section with only a couple inches between the Landcruiser and rocks . A couple of microwave size rocks need careful tire placement. And a Sharp turn with some rock stacking from previous adventurers . Hit the valley floor and about 15 minutes your out .

I recommend this trail for stock vehicles equipped with 4 Low and about 9 inches of ground clearance. Trail is more interesting heading up the trail from the s2 in Anza ending in Julian . There is a few side trails which can test your courage and rig . Good luck.

off road driving
1 month ago

off road driving
2 months ago

I have taken this path (The Mason Valley Truck Trail) twice now. Once from the 78 at Banner Grade down to the S2 at Box Canyon and once in the opposite direction from S2 up to 78. Took my LR4 going up and my 4Runner coming down. It was a tough trip going both ways. But also really fun and quite beautiful. Oriflamme has an amazing history. Look it up before you go. The path is rocky and a very rough trip for anyone without experience. I recommend having a spotter/co-pilot on board too - like you would climbing rocks. My most recent trip was in October of 2017. The rains have caused major erosion since my first trip. I would rate it medium to hard because of the tight spaces, shear drops and loose surfaces. Only true off-road “overland” vehicles with a narrow footprint and shorter wheelbase will fit. Ample clearance is important too. No full-size trucks or large SUVs. You’ll risk major damage. Very few places to turn back once you get started. Also note, the big metal gate up at Banner isn’t really locked.

off road driving
5 months ago

Made the mistake of taking my F-150 on this trail. The narrow boulder area was very painful. Not for a stock full size truck. Great trail, will definitely come back with my jeep.

off road driving
6 months ago

Started on the desert side. Tough trail with some narrow parts (large boulder in road on CLIFF side, trees overgrown). The gate is unlocked on the Julian side. Slow going on the steep grades with rocks.

About half way through there is a great plateau for views and space to relax. Made it through with stock 2000 Land Cruiser in 4WD LOW (no running boards, they would have been ripped off from the rocks).

11 months ago

Fun trail. Many washed out spots from the winter rains. Half way up the lengthy switchbacks, there is a tight squeeze due to a boulder that has fallen on the trail: get over or by it, or back down a gnarly section and turn around.

When we got to the trail's end on Banner Grade, there was a "locked gate," or so it appeared. My kids' jaws dropped and they shouted in unison, "what the heck!" (Just push it open...haha).

There is a coin-operated car wash in Ramona to rinse off the mega-amounts of dirt that you will accumulate.

off road driving
11 months ago

Loved it and beautiful! I would rate this as hard. There is a giant boulder and I needed a spotter to make it by in a jeep unlimited. Most of it is up the mountain overlooking the cliff. Of course it's now all rocks so you have to go slow. There is a gate that is closed and looks locked, just undo the chains and move on

off road driving
Sunday, February 05, 2017

Fun trail. Awesome scenery! However, the recent storm destroyed the trail. The trail rating is probably more in between moderate and hard. About half way on the trail a giant boulder fell and there was just enough room for a Jeep wrangler to squeeze by. Anything wider would not fit. Luckily I had a co pilot to help navigate.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

There was no water in the creekbed in November, there was no trail other than the 4x4 truck trail you walk on which is a very rocky road, and then you have to pick a spot to drop down into the canyon. There's lots of brush and prickly bushes, rattlesnake hideouts and tarantulas. We did see a rattlesnake on the truck trail so be careful.

off road driving
Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Moderate 4wd trail. Gorgeous views at top. Steep and narrow switchbacks which can be intimidating to new drivers. Lots of cactus blooms in season. Pass a few mines, some still in operation (Chariot Mine.)

Please note: We started the trail from Hwy S2, ten miles south of Hwy 78 and ended in Banner. As you descend toward Banner at the end of the trail, you'll encounter a gate that appears to be chained and locked. We've been on this trail several times and each time the gate is "fake locked." I have no idea why except that locals have said people do it to keep the 4wd riffraff like us out!

4 months ago

off road driving
Saturday, February 04, 2017