Explore the most popular mountain biking trails near Lake Elsinore with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Took the trail in my completely stock 2012 tacoma trd off road dropped into 4x4 hi but I feel like I didn’t really need too. Some minor ruts but I made it through with stock clearance. It was very rocky in some sections. Will be back again with a lift bigger tires and aired down just to take away from the rocky sections.

off road driving
17 days ago

Took my 89 XJ down the trail and had no problems, just pick good lines because some of those ruts could leave you on your side or worse.

Breathtaking views all around most of the way. The spot where the waterfalls would be was completely dry again though on the May 12th weekend.

Took about 3.5 hours to get up there with okay pace and some quick photo stops. 2.15 return. (So, definitely longer than 4 hr round trip as some people have commented)

Trail starts in parking lot across the street from the candy store. A little over 11 miles from parking to falls and back, 9.1 miles as stated on app is incorrect. Falls are not impressive but it’s a nice hike to get there nonetheless. A good 4 hours round trip, take lots of water, sunscreen and a hat. Wear good trail shoes, parts of the trail are dry with loose pebbles/rocks easy to slip in the wrong shoes. Lots of pretty wild flowers along the way.

off road driving
2 months ago

pretty fun, some pretty big ruts along the way, but nothing to crazy.

off road driving
2 months ago

narrow in most places. some good size ruts

If you’re looking for great views and a kick ass workout, this is your trail. Hill after hill. Well worth it from the top. I hike every weekend and consider hard to be an accurate portrayal

Nice trail, no water at the waterfall yet. But saw a beautiful big rattlesnake right next to the trail.

2 months ago

Had a nice hike through this area. Meant to go to another trail but this one was great for us. I would say this one is moderate. Beautiful cool day. No water at the falls but we were able to enjoy a nice lunch while we were there

First of all the trail head is NOT by the candy store it is right where you park ..I wouldn’t call it moderate but strenuously moderate.. 9.3 miles to the “falls” ( no water). Lots of ticks..beware and check your dogs. We had fun...

Only did the loop, but didn't see another soul on a Friday afternoon. The leg of the trail to San Juan Falls should be called the Heavy Doodie Trail since it is littered with dog poo around every bend. For the love of hiking.. PLEASE pick up after your dog and carry out what you bag.

Nice trail for a winter hike but it was quite warm today, about 78. Left at 7:30 when it was cool, finished by 12:30 and it was quite hot. Brought the dogs and found lots of TICKS on them - maybe from the recent rain? I would not have expected ticks this time of year. No water in the falls but a few puddles down stream from the rain.

It was a great day with a great hike. But no water was flowing

Definitely go when the weather is clear and cool. I imagine this trail would be great with more water in the stream beds. I only saw 1 person on the trail.

off road driving
6 months ago

we took this Trail last Sunday and had a good time running it. Most of it is easy, though there are some severe short where people have tried to pass it with two wheel drive vehicles and dugout deep holes. those areas I would consider moderate. We were in a Jeep JK and have it in 4-wheel drive high and never even slipped a tire. it has great views both East and West at various times. A fun couple of hours for a Sunday afternoon.

We hiked this in October knowing the terrain would be hot and dry, but wanted a conditioning trail close to home. Knowing that, it was a good hike with both oak woodlands and chaparral. The falls were expectedly dry, but the rock formations were quite cool. My gps app stated 5.7 miles to reach the falls - 11.4 round trip.

off road driving
8 months ago

I have a C1500 and a K2500. I've done the drive a couple of times. I think I'm done taking the 4x4 due to the weight. My 1500 has a locking rear diff and as long as I pick good lines through rough spots, it does just fine with less jarring. The views are as good as anywhere in OC.
BTW, the last two hundred feet (past the towers out to the main vista point) is very rocky and worth a word of caution.

Spectacular views of Lake Matthews. Unbelievable March wildflower blooms during heavy rain seasons. Start at the Walker Canyon trail entrance at the Lake Street and 15 Freeway intersection (North side). Off street parking. Head north past the locked gate (Bike fits through the gate). Follow the dirt road (used by Edison line or county fire crews) to the top. Stop at Tom's Farms on the way back for a cold drink.

on Main Divide Road

off road driving
10 months ago

This is a fun drive not far from lake Elsinore. The views of Lake Elsinore and the surrounding Mountains are amazing. I'd say 4WD required in some spots, and be mindful of the narrow climb areas, there's not many places to let someone by if you come nose to nose with another vehicle while going up.

fun travel

Nice trail. About 9 miles RT to falls from candy sore parking lot. This time of year it gets very hot in the valleys and on hills. Lots of water or you will regret going.

Good ride rather more open road!

off road driving
Thursday, June 01, 2017

Did this trail Memorial Day Weekend 2017. This was a really fun Trail easily accessible to anybody in LA/OC. Check online to ensure the gates are open with the Cleveland National Forest Website. The start of the trail from the Ortega Highway route was pretty rutted at first but smooths out after a couple miles. Definitely has its challenges, but shouldn't have any issues with 2WD and decent clearance. Did it with ease in my basically stock 4Runner, used 4WD because I wanted to not because I had to. Santiago Peak is a nice stopping point to stop and grill out with a nice view. Went down the Maple Springs route which totaled out to a roughly 30 miles trail (20 on Main Divide and 10 on Maple Springs). There's a couple different combinations to get up and down including Maple Springs, Indian Truck Trail, or taking Main Divide Road the whole way. Will run this trail again.

hiking
Sunday, May 14, 2017

Completed yesterday, nice workout. Wouldn't recommend for summer hikes, but there was still water flowing at the falls. Had my closest encounter with the biggest rattlesnake I've ever seen, not fun. Careful of the hill climb going to the falls...fairly steep in sections and not much sun protection.

hiking
Friday, April 14, 2017

Did this trail again with my cousin today, but only did the lower loop, stopping off at the San Juan Falls (2.1 miles total) instead of heading all the way to Chiquito Falls.

Once again, remember your adventure pass for the parking lot.

We started off on the San Juan Trail again (to the right of the parking lot and headed straight to the first and smaller waterfall. We tried hiking around the lookout point fence to get to the actual base of the falls, but it was fairly steep at one point and we were concerned about the dog making it, so didn't go all the way to the base. There's still some easy to reach photo op points partway down, so try anyway. Watch the rocks though, as we spotted a rather larger rattler snuggled between a couple we planned on traversing.

Since we couldn't make the base, we backtracked to the very easy side trail that takes you to the few smaller pools at the top of the falls. This was a very nice place to stop for lunch. I hear it can be crowded on the weekends, but we had it mostly to ourselves on a Thursday at 1 pm.

We then completed the simple 2.1 mile loop, which was easy, quick, and enjoyable. Once you pass the junction sign, you technically are taking the Chiquito Trail back to the parking lot, which is a slight incline the rest of the way back.

hiking
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I'm a casual/slow hiker, so this hike took me all day, from 9 am to 5 pm, spending about 45 minutes at the waterfall.

First off, don't forget your adventure pass for parking.

When you start the trail, begin with the San Juan Trail to the right of the parking lot. Shortly after beginning, you will come across the San Juan Falls. I did as others suggested and checked them out from afar and then headed on to Chiquito Falls so as not to lose time. I do wish I had hiked down and stopped for a bit because the falls were empty of people on a Monday. The trail overall was lightly trafficked on the Monday I went.

Continue on through the first part of the loop until you reach the junction sign, where you need to turn right and cross the creek to head to Chiquito Falls. At this point, you travel through a nicely shaded area, so watch out for poison oak and mosquitos, but take advantage of shade while you can.

Once you pass the "tributary" as marked in yellow on the AllTrails map, the rest of the trail is virtually all climb (except for a small decline to the falls themselves). This is where things get hot, from not only the continuous incline, but from sun exposure. Don't just wear spf, but bring it with you and reapply. My day was 74 degrees, but felt in the mid-80's for this portion. Take advantage and cool down in the few shade tunnels offered by the oak trees. And beware of bees if you're sensitive. They are literally everywhere through this portion of the hike, and you cannot avoid brushing up against them and the plants they are checking out along the trail.

You'll see the falls from a distance, right before the decline in the trail. They are running great as of the date of my hike, but I hear they are usually dry in the summer. I can't imagine the summer heat helping this trail out either.

On the return hike, when you make it all the way back to the junction, keep heading right on the Chiquito Trail (or turn left and leave the way you came if you want to see the San Juan Falls again or prefer not to complete the loop). You will hear the highway unfortunately, but the trails leads along a creek and it's beautiful and green. Eventually you will come out on the opposite end of the parking lot from where you started.

There are fat lizards all over this trail, and most aren't afraid of hikers. So enjoy their funny dances and poses along the boulders. Also, as of this post, tons of blooming aloe (most of my other hikes, the aloe blooms are already dead now since they tend to bloom in the winter here).

Since I'm a newer and slower hiker, this trail maxed me out distance wise. The loss of one star was because of the sun exposure and heat issue for most of the trail. Otherwise, I really enjoyed it and might have not had so much of a heat issue had I started earlier than 9 am.

This place is amazing!

Thursday, April 06, 2017

You can walk all the up to the Ortega and grab a beer at the top of this one!

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