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.
dogs on leash
off road driving
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.
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.
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.
Beautiful trails, very peaceful and empty. Top of the mountain is used a telecom site, so noise and antennas ruin the view from the peak a little bit. LONG hike, gets dark early in the canyon, so plan to set out in the morning.
Great views at the top. Also known as Saddleback Mountain. It's Orange County's highest peak.
cold after hiking. rain.
The views are great and the slope is almost constant. The trail is comfortable to walk besides the last mile before getting to the peak, where the trucks dig big stones out of the dust. I recommend going with the option on the right side of the suggested loop, which is a good path delighting you with the scent of the bushes. However, on the way up, I missed the connection which is on the left-hand side, in a right hand curve... hope this is clear. Did it in 4 hours walking time; plan for 5 to 6 hours. Rent a small SUV or use a crappy car as the track to the Holy Jim Parking is awful.
I was impressed with how nice a trail this is. It was a little warm but there was plenty of shade and a breeze now and then. The bugs in the lower portion of the trail were relentless. We didn't make it to the peak since we were out of shape. I will be back again in the spring to summit. The drive in is not for low profile vehicles. My F150 did fine.
I went with 3 people, it was a very nice hike, I really enjoyed it :)
This is a really great trail! If I had only listened to the reviews and trail guides and NOT gone during summer! The heat on the day I went was not bad (80-85), but the bugs! I really look forward to doing this again in the spring when the water is flowing, wildflowers are blooming and no bugs. Road to the trailhead is tough without all wheel drive. The 4000+ elevation gain occurs pretty gradually over the 8 miles up. There is a peak marker among the buildings, you just have to look for it.
This is a really great trail! If I had only listened to the reviews and trail guides and NOT gone during summer! The heat on the day I went was not bad (80-85), but the bugs! I really look forward to doing this again in the spring when the water is flowing, wildflowers are blooming and no bugs. Road to the trail head is tough without all wheel drive. The 4000+ elevation gain occurs pretty gradually over the 8 miles up. There is a peak marker among the buildings, you just have to look for it. I did not do the loop reflected on the attached map, just the out and back via Holy Jim Trail to Truck Trail to peak.