Santiago Peak via Holy Jim Trail and Main Divide Road

HARD 188 reviews
#5 of 123 trails in

Santiago Peak via Holy Jim Trail and Main Divide Road is a 15.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Trabuco Canyon, California that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and mountain biking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
15.9 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
4,163 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

hiking

mountain biking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

Off-road motorized vehicle driving is only allowed on the Main Divide Road portion of this trail. When hiking watch out for vehicles.

3 months ago

If you do this hike in the summer, start early, it gets very hot. Best to start by 6 am. Challenging hike but the view at the top is well worth it. Bring plenty of water, I drank almost 4 liters.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice tree cover on the earlier sections of the trail. Saw a decent amount of bikers and other hikers passing us in both directions on the trail. View at the top was very nice. Start early because it gets hot!

3 months ago

This was an awesome, but brutal hike!! Bring plenty of water/electrolytes, food/snacks and a bandana for the dust from trucks and motorcycles! I drank plenty of water on the way up but still ended up cramping pretty bad! We hit the trail head at 6:30am and it took us 9 hours! ✔️one off my bucket list! ✌

hiking
3 months ago

6/23/18. Brutal hike for me. Make sure to bring a lot of water. Drank 9 bottles round trip. Pack a bandana to cover your mouth from the dust left behind motorbikes and trucks. Enjoyed the first half. Dirt and very demanding the last half, but I am 67, lol.
Went slow and it took 9 hours, 41,000+ steps!
Hike on a cool day, no shade near the top.
Very inspired when we made it.

hiking
4 months ago

I liked this hike, with the exception of the sections along Main Divide Road. The motorcyclists wouldn't even slow down when passing, leaving clouds of dust in their wake. The 4 wheeled vehicle operators were a bit more considerate, however through some sections of the road I was walking faster than the vehicle immediately in front of me and had to slow down for them as they maneuvered the rough terrain.

I completed this in just under 6 hours.

off road driving
4 months ago

Accessible via Indian truck trail from corona and you need a 4wd to make it to the top by the antennas. Views are wonderful.

4 months ago

Its a beautiful trail but not easy to follow the signs for the peak are missing so we took a 3 mile detour and ended up taking the fire road up to the summit all in all 21 some odd miles. Ouch. Lots of vehicles on the fire roads and they will drive around you rather than giving you right away so be aware.

hiking
5 months ago

Nice trail, slow steady incline all the way up.
Didnt do the last “loop” once I hit the dirt road on top: there were too many motorcycles on the road and didn’t wanna be inhaling dirt for 4miles.
70% shaded. Nice wild flowers. Great for endurance training. Blessed with Sunny and 65F today but definitely can see lots of water needed on a hot day.
Will be back on a weekday to finish the top: hopefully less motorcycles.

5 months ago

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
6 months 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.

6 months ago

Great trail

6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months 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.

6 months 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
6 months 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
6 months ago

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

hiking
6 months 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
7 months 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
9 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.

9 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
9 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
9 months ago

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

off road driving
9 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
9 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
11 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
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

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
Saturday, July 29, 2017

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
Sunday, June 04, 2017

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