Explore the most popular trail running trails near San Juan Capistrano with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Mainly uphill, no shade, pretty views. Saw a deer. Nice that you can do a loop, went back Eastern flats but no shade, today the road would have been better for shade. Lots of trails in this general location $3 to get in.

1 month ago

Did the first section including the little loop, around 4 miles total. Beautiful - lots of nice views, interesting plants. Trail is well-worn and easy to follow - note the white double-sided arrows on the ground to keep following the trail when coming to an offshoot, most of which lead to a campground. TONS of lizards, lots of mountain bikers as well, but all friendly. Great time!

Awesome when you’re up in the mountains, but an awkward to and from walk.

Interesting trail that rides the ridge between the park and Coto. There really is not a loop anymore. the Oak Trail segment is now closed. There was hardly anyone on the trail on Saturday. A couple of runners, a biker, and a boy scout troop. We went about an hour without running into anyone. Once on the ridge trail, you are exposed in the sun with little shade.

Easy warm up start, steep incline choices, beautiful views.

nice short hike. great signs and well maintained trail. definitely a moderate not a hard hike

7 months ago

Hiked out of Blue Jay campground.

The trail stats by the Trabuco Golf Club which is the only nice part of the trail. Otherwise is boring with no shade.

Hiked this loop trail in pleasant 85F weather on a Monday afternoon. As a result, I didn't encounter another soul which was a pleasant surprise. The trail is rated by AllTrails as difficult but I think moderate is more accurate. There is a fairly steep climb on Oso Trail but not too difficult. You are rewarded with some nice views over the park from up there, especially back toward Santiago and Modjeska peaks in the distance.

Be sure to bring enough water/sunscreen and wear a hat. You are exposed to the sun for significant portions of this hike. There are a few places with loose rocks and/or sand where footing can be tricky. Hiking boots are recommended. Overall, this was a very pleasant hike where you can work up a sweat and get your heart beating a bit.

Monday, June 05, 2017

It was nice but I prefer my views to not be primarily neighborhoods. There's a nice ocean view at the top of Patriots trail where there's a flagpole and a mailbox with a notebook you can sign so that was fun. But a little too suburban for me.
Also, the map did NOT take us to the trailhead. Instead it took us to a blocked off fenced area that had no access. Instead we had to continue on El Novio (I think that's the name) and then turned left on via cerre rebal and found our way to the trail listed.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Park in the first day use lot you come across on your right side. Cost is $5 to enter the park. The trail map is pretty handy. Plenty of butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles, and lizards on this hike. Right now the yucca blooms are impressive.

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Gorgeous setting, smooth paths, great hills! Wildflowers in spring with sprawling ocean views. Really perfect!

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Super fun! Did a few of the lookout points, ending with the 2nd of the Patriot Trail loops and the Flagpole point.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Beautiful wildflowers, green hillsides, water in the creek!

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Beautiful trail! Our group made it to the flag pole on the Patriot Trail, turned around and backtracked so well could stay in the hills instead of walking through the neighborhoods. Took 2 hours. 6 miles

Saturday, November 12, 2016

This trail was a tough and beautiful climb. I would not recommend taking San Juan Creek trail back. San Juan Creek trail is next to the highway, so it is very noisy.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Most of this trail is exposed so go early in the morning or during cooler seasons. Also part of the lower loop is closed due to deadfall.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Really tough climb, but well worth it for the amazing views from the top. The climb once at the Oso trail is pretty steep. Gotta be in good shape to complete this hike.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I could not find the Patriot Trail. Instead took the Cerro Rebal Trail to Via Cerro Rebal and back to LA Novia Ave. But this trail is beautiful and presents itself with some awesome ocean views.

cross country skiing
Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Monday, April 11, 2016

Initial ascent from Upper Hot Springs Road to Sugarloaf Peak, last part was a hidden bush scramble to the top but well worth it (even in the pouring rain).

mountain biking
Thursday, April 07, 2016

shuttled it and started at the top. first five miles is two-thirds uphill, and treacherous at times. Overall not recommended for beginners but superfun all around. mostly all downhill after Cocktail Rock, five mile point. Only 7 miles down to the parking area at the Lazy W Ranch. 12 miles total.

mountain biking
Saturday, April 02, 2016

The upper part above cocktail rock is super fun forest riding, below cocktail rock the trail is worn heavily, grooved due to heavy use with lots of switch backs.

on San Juan Trail

Monday, February 22, 2016

Beautiful view at Cocktail Rock ❤️

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Now I know why there weren't any recent checkins:(. This trail, while it has beautiful views and is a great workout with switchbacks, is primarily used for bikes. They were nice and no issues, but the condition of the trail is so deteriorated by the bikes that it is a chore to get up and down safely. It was like you were hiking a downward sloping river bed at times with a 6 inch wide trail that just sucked in your feet. We had fun and made it to the Cocktail Rocks, but my ankles and tendons are burning and touchy today. Just be careful, bring bug spray, sunscreen and plenty of water.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Love this trail , specially after a rain . So peaceful.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Fun trail that did while camping on a weekend and had some great views with tall grass valleys. When we hit the end of trail my girlfriend asked if I thought we could see out camp site and sure enough we had a direct view of our favorite campsite with all of our gear (and the squires trying to steel our food). Will do this hike next time we camp here as I like camping here a lot

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I'm always confused that I can't find "Patriot Trail" anywhere - so I hope this is it. I *love* this hike. It's a butt-kicker (at least for me), but 360 views at the top. It was my first, and you know what they say - you always remember your first. :) Zero shade here, so a morning or early evening is good. Bring water! Most activity levels should be okay - kids and dogs are okay too. We brought our golden and our 3 and 9 year olds. Great hike!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Not my favorite hike, but it was really pretty. Very narrow trail with gazillions of foxtails. But, it's pretty good for beginners - nice graded trail, great views at the top. I suggest going early as there are very few places to sit and very little shade. Always bring water!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Not the most exciting trail, but it *is* beautiful. There is a large grass meadow at the beginning of the hike. You'll share the trail with horses. Lots of bees pollinating flowers - didn't get stung, but maybe not the best trail for those allergic. The climb is moderate and short. Lots of patches of dappled light so watch for snakes. Bathrooms, water and good parking at the trail head.

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