Santiago Peak Holy Jim Trail

HARD 162 reviews
#5 of 119 trails in

Santiago Peak Holy Jim Trail is a 15.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Trabuco Canyon, California that features a waterfall 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
15.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4163 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

off road driving

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

My second time doing this trail. Wasn’t able to complete it the first time. But came back and finished today! Great trail with nice views challenging carry plenty of water it’s a little over 16 miles. Do it really early to avoid the heat! Loved it

hiking
4 days ago

- Lots of greens and shades in this trail. Well maintained;
- Be careful of bikers and motorcyclists !!! Some of them were really aggressive, who never slowed down because of race.
- Needs lots of water (at least 3.5 L) and energy bar as well
- 4WD recommended and drive slow.

4 days ago

Great trail

5 days ago

Challenging hike for me but pleasant all the same. Couple pieces of advice, most which are mentioned by others. Bring more water than you think you need. I took 3 1/2 liters and ran out with 3 miles to go. Also, when you think you are getting close to the summit you still have a long way to go. You can see the antennas and feel you are 30 min from the peak for half the hike. The road up to the parking lot is bumpy so if you don't have a four wheel drive allow some extra time. Get your adventure pass for parking prior if you can. This hike takes a long time so be aware and don't assume you can shave a couple hours off. I didn't end up getting done til 6:00 so only had another hour of light. Enjoyed the hike even though a mountain bike event was going on so had to pull over for about 50 bikers. Coming back was very pleasant with the afternoon shade and less traffic.

backpacking
8 days ago

Did this as a training hike with a fully loaded backpack. The road is a PITA cuz it takes a long time to get out there and it can be crowded, but the trail overall is quite lovely. Once you start climbing (after the waterfall trail junction) it gets quieter and the views get better and better. April 2018: there is plenty of water in the lower sections of the trail. When you get to main divide road there is no sign indicating where to go, go Right for about .4 miles and look for some piled rocks on the left side of the road pointing to the trail, it takes a sharp Left and keeps climbing. Bring a headlamp in case you end up hiking after dark like me!

hiking
11 days ago

Bring more water then you think you’ll need. My pack ended up being pretty heavy but 7 bottles of water a Gatorade and 3 apple juice boxes proved to not be near enough almost.
The road up to the trail can be sketchy, that being said I did trek it in my MINI Cooper and it really wasn’t that bad. More just embarrassing because I almost felt like people were looking at me like, look at this bitch trying to take this road in a MINI but if you go slow, let Jeeps pass and watch for rocks & pot holes in the road you’ll be just fine.
General store at the end of the road to the trail had Adventure Passes for sale.
The hike to the summit for me wasn’t too bad physically just more mentally challenging. A lot of the hike is shady but be prepaired for some sun as well. Probably about 1/3 of it you might be in the sun for.

hiking
12 days ago

Great training hike for our Grand Canyon. Go early. Parts of trail are pretty expsoed and can get warm. A handful of annoying things about the trail...first are all the bikers on the trail. second are the motorcycles and cars the last mile. last is the last mile of the trail is on the road with lots of rocks and exposed for the first half. however at the end there amazing views of OC and the ocean on clear days.

17 days ago

Great trail. Tough to get to sometimes as the dirt road can be in pretty bad condition getting there. Great views with trails that have a variety of surfaces, rock, dirt, sand. Bring a lot water.

off road driving
20 days ago

Wasn’t really to happy to find that the actual trail doesn’t allow off-roading. But there is some good riding right at the entrance. A lot of rocky ruff terrain, fun though.

off road driving
25 days ago

It’s a beautiful place for diving and Jeeping . A great way to spend an afternoon hiding out

hiking
26 days ago

The trail is beautiful, but the trailhead for the upper Holy Jim trail can be tricky to find. Once you come up to the road (North Main Divide) you make a right on to the road and walk another 1/4 mile south. the trailhead to the upper Holy Jim will be on your left side, marked by an arrow made of rocks on the ground.

it's easy to miss!

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful trail and scenery. It’s a bit rocky in some areas and some of the trail was washed out. There are parts where you walk on the fire access road.

hiking
3 months ago

Did this trail about 6 years ago. Did not plan well for it, but made it. Took is about 8.5 hours, we came down in the dark. Parts of the trail are unshaded, so wear a hat and sunscreen on hot days. Otherwise, amazing views of Southern California. We could see Catalina, the San Gabriel Range, down to the hills around Hemet and Temecula.

3 months ago

This was the first long hike ever. 20 miles to be exact. We started at 6am and ended at 4pm. We climbed to the towers/ summit ate lunch, and headed back. It was an entire day of hiking and we added an extra 5 miles by going a bit off trail but it was fun. I must say it was very busy at the top. There was a motocross race, a hike/ run, and some sort of jeep off road event all on the same day. Made it interesting though. The views looking toward the west (orange county) were amazing. The mountains just went on and on forever! Very cool to see from the summit. Definitely going back soon!

hiking
3 months ago

This was a fun hike! It climbs about 4000 feet, but really most of the trail is long switchbacks, so it’s a slow burn. The summit is not spectacular but getting there is.

hiking
3 months ago

Tends to be a bit crowded at times, but a nice hike overall with very nice views.

off road driving
3 months ago

This is a great trail to do with great scenery and views. Start off early in case all of the trail gates are open so that you have enough time to turn back around. You will need a 4x4 vehicle in some areas. Please don’t liter and help keep these trails clean for everyone’s enjoyment.

off road driving
3 months ago

This trail is not currently open for off-road driving use. It looks like it has been closed to vehicle traffic for sometime. Just an FYI

walking
5 months ago

amazing views, great hike once you get on the trail.

dirt road sucks getting there..3 miles of bumpy bump rocks and gravel

hiking
8 months ago

Did Holy Jim on a hot day. Tough one with the heat.

My directions are online if you want some visuals in addition to the AllTrails track.

https://hikingguy.com/hiking-trails/hiking-orange-county/saddleback-mountain-hike-santiago-peak/

hiking
8 months ago

1st two miles is the Holy Jim Trail and then there is a sign to the falls or Great Divide Road. You take the Great Divide Road to the peak. Peak is OK. Good views one way but there's something about hiking to a summit ot look at radio, tv, cell towers that makes the effort a little sad! :-) the top 1/2 of the hike has little shade and it gets hot in the canyon. the last mile or so is on a dirt road which I'm also not found of. Saw almost no one on the trail, I think 4 people all day. If you don't have time to drive to the mountains and want a good workout this is a good option but because of the items I have mentioned it's just not my kind of hike.

hiking
10 months ago

off road driving
10 months ago

Amazing views from above the clouds.

hiking
10 months ago

Really fun and interesting trail! Hard trail for someone who isn't in good physical condition moderate for those who are

off road driving
11 months ago

Great trail!

11 months ago

Awesome hike/run finished in 3hrs 40min 26km to the waterfall.. to the top and back down.. doing the loop as well..

11 months ago

It was a great accomplishment for our group.. Round trip was 18.75 miles .. bring lots of water and try to avoid the warm days.. only bad part was top 2 miles had tons (thousands) of flying bugs..we did the switch back and the trees provided needed shade.. great views on the climb up..

hiking
11 months ago

Awesome hike. It's actually not too bad. Once you get to the Great Divide (road), you can go left up to the peak or right to the Holy Jim Trail. If you choose to go right, the Holy Jim trail is a little ways down to the left and kind of hidden (look for a pile of rocks). This way is a bit steeper but manageable. View on top is not 360 degrees so you kind of have to walk around, choose a view, and try to find a shady spot to take a break. Not to mention, there's thousands of nats and ladybugs bugging you. But overall, great views as you're going up and down.

hiking
Monday, February 20, 2017

The road to the trailhead is closed aprox 2 miles prior. This will add an additional 4 miles to your hike. Be sure to plan. The water flow is pretty steady and the waterfall is gorgeous. Expect crowds at lower elevations. Watch out for mountain bikers and dual sport bikes. Gorgeous views to the east with snow capped mountains. Visibility to the west is very limited and no ocean views because of winter weather.

Friday, December 09, 2016

Great hike. There are pretty views out toward Trabuco Canyon, and a lot of steady climbing. This can be a long day, and a hot dry trail - take more water than you think you need.

Load More