Roller Coaster

MODERATE 164 reviews

Roller Coaster is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near San Clemente, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

4.7 miles
787 feet

dog friendly



nature trips

trail running



22 days ago

So fun!! Went early and it was too foggy to see the harbor, but still a wonderful hike! I will definitely be back!

27 days ago

Went 0700 and had a workout for less than 1.5 hours. Short roller coster hills it is. It gives the hiker many options of trails to hike, so boredom doesn't sink in from taking a repeat hike.

1 month ago

Get butt work out!!

trail running
2 months ago

Flew in from North Carolina and immediately hit the trail. The hills hurt but it’s a great trail for running.

3 months ago

Tough hike super steep hills, lots of great views!!
We were disgusted by how many lazy pet owners use this trail and don’t clean up after their animal!!

trail running
3 months ago

Good run if you incorporate single track trail that starts after you reach the flag, around a hill, down to the valley and back up. We got in a 10+ km morning trail run :)

3 months ago

Took the kids and dog, great workout and loved adding on patriots trail

3 months ago

As previously mentioned, up hill must of the way. It's like a choose your own adventure book, lots of branches off the main trail! Great views too! Looking forward to going back to try a different adventure!!

4 months ago

This trail actually can lead you to Patriot trail and/or Harbor View trail, which are better than just Roller Coaster, in and of itself. Still had fun though.

5 months ago

Easy access local San Clemente/San Juan Capistrano hike. Good workout with a lot of climb right out the gates. Great views at the top.

5 months ago

Gorgeous at sunset... nice hills!!

5 months ago

It's a light conditioning trail with openness to the ocean.

6 months ago

Awesome butt buster!

7 months ago

Great up & down hill, nice workout. Go when not too hot as sun hits your back.

7 months ago

Pretty good work out but was very brown and dry when I went in December. The dead thistle plants looked really cool. Neat ocean view at the end!

7 months ago

This is an enjoyable hike. You can take a number of different trails once you get to the top. The Patriot Trail leads to a flagpole and great ocean views.

9 months ago

Great trail. Starts off straight uphill for the 1st half mile, then you get roller coaster type hills as you see your destination, the american flag as you finish the last leg on the patriot trail. You are then treated with a beautiful view at the top of Dana Point and the ocean.
Nice wide dusty, dirt packed trail. Views on the way up of rolling hills and highway 5 in the distance. Many trail variations. Great area to get some cardio. Took 1:30 round trip at 4.5 miles.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Definitely a roller coaster. Great views

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Some steep hills but nothing too strenuous. It was actually really fun! This trail is actually comprised of several trails in the San Juan area. However, if you follow the track it will take you to the flagpole and you can see Dana Point Harbor and then Saddleback mountain in the other direction. Good hike for kids and dogs!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Some steep hills and great views of San Clemente and the beach. It's not super intense or anything but you can still get a great workout or nice walk from it!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Nice lollipop-loop in a larger trail network. This route is entirely on dirt roads, but near the top by the water reservoir there are some optional pieces of single track that parallel the road. Views are expansive, but mostly of developments. Nice if you're in the area, but not a destination.

Would NOT recommend after any sort of rain, as the road does not drain well and becomes a muddy mess.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The good: Leashed dogs are allowed. It's well maintained with good signage. Great training ground for cross-country runners. A challenging and thrilling mountain bike ride. There are some beautiful views of the Pacific and Dana Point harbor when you reach the flagpole. Parking is free and has never been a problem.

The bad: It's essentially a large fire road, so it's quite dusty and hot and feels more like... a road. The views along the trail aren't great. It skirts between several housing developments, ending near the 5 freeway. You're never far from civilization and can see and hear it along its entire route. Houses, power lines, and the freeway are constant companions.

This is definitely not a destination trail. If you live in the area, it's worth a look. I found it to be moderately difficult, with a few really steep areas. The California drought has really burned up the land in this area, so it's a lot more haggard looking than it once was.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

nice trial did a few connection ended up doing 8 miles.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Not too hard. Not too far from home. Beautiful view at sunset. Many side trails to take.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Beautiful views! Nice trail. Great if you don't have much time.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

A lot of fun! It's really versatile in that you can change up the difficulty by choosing different trails along the way. You may not reach the flag pole by doing that, but the view is still pretty darn amazing!!

Saturday, May 07, 2016

Fun!!!!!!! I liked the steep hills and different little off road trails. Great for mountain bikers too.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Hard on my old ass. But I made it!!!

Monday, February 15, 2016

been hiking here all my life, it is hard at parts but easy overall it is a nice afternoon hike takes 2 hours walking to the flag pole and back

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Aptly named, this well groomed trail has some very steep (but mostly short) inclines/declines. Downhill stretches can be rough if you have knee issues. Plenty of free parking at trail head. Dogs allowed on leash only & doggy-do-do-bags provided. Alot of mountain bikers and hikers on this busy trail.
You'll never completely leave the city on this trail because it remains visible/audible for most of it. But it's top notch for ocean views and on a clear day, Catalina island is visible.
Can get very warm in summer, take water. Flagpole and mailbox (with guest book to sign) at end of hike.
Lots and LOTS of rattlesnakes, beware for yourself and your dogs...keep dogs on leash. TARANTULAS also on trial, watch your step (see pics)
Lots of coyotes early morn and evening.

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